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My Diary/Blog For the Month of April 2019

Tuesday 30th April 2019
08:49 BST
  The forecast for yesterday was rather pessimistic, and unfortunately it was almost right. There were a few very brief sunny spells around mid morning, and for much of the morning at least one small patch of blue sky could be found somewhere in the sky. Generally speaking it was overcast for most of the day, but never very dull, and occasionally almost bright. There were sunny periods forecast for late afternoon, but as far as I recall, they didn't really amount to anything worth noting. The highest temperature was forecast to be 15° C, but it seemed to feel several degrees cooler.
no sign of it yet, but it could get sunny
  As I look out my window it seems unlikely that there could be any sunshine today. At the moment it is rather cool, and the sky is a steely grey. However, the forecasters seem most adamant that by 11am the sun will start to peep through the clouds, and by 6pm there will be non stop sunshine until sunset a couple of hours later. The prediction also reckons that today will reach 17° C, and in the sunshine that should feel nice. One thing that has been updated in the last couple of hours, and it is the forecast for tomorrow. It was going to be very dull, but the latest guess is that there could be some sunny periods from morning to midday, and then more of them from about 5pm onwards. The temperature may very briefly peak at 17° C, but 16° C might be more representative of the day.

  It was a relief to get Sunday over and done with, and face a far more exciting day yesterday. Well that's the theory, but I am not so sure that excitement came into it. One thing is for sure was that I couldn't have imagined how it would turn out. For one thing I didn't expect to hand wash three t-shirts and some underwear. It was after I had showered and washed my hair that I noticed that the amount of laundry to do was building up. So after getting out the shower I left the water running, and filled my big builders bucket with detergent, and clothes to wash.

  What was most surprising about doing that washing was that apart from a small pause while I dried myself, and put on some clothes, I did it non stop. That wouldn't be remarkable if I hadn't been sawing up logs the day before. I expected my arm muscles to ache, and they did - a bit - but less than I imagined. Even more strange is that my arms started to ache less as I worked, although I will admit that towards the end they were starting to complain again. I hung the washing out on the little line outside the kitchen door. It didn't seem good drying weather, and it wasn't. At 6pm those clothes were mostly dry, but with some slightly damp areas. They soon dried when I brought them indoors.

  In the morning I had some optimistic ideas about going out with my camera (or one of them) - maybe just jumping on random trains. When it came down to it I was put off by the lack of sunshine. It didn't seem the right weather for photography. I still went out though, but only to the local shops. I decided I would go out to the two charity shops that don't smell, and check their second hand CDs (the Salvation Army shop always smells horrible and musty, and they don't have many CDs anyway).

  For some reason the British Heart Foundation shop seemed to have a load of Xmas CDs in. I definitely didn't want anything like that, but I did find a couple of CDs that I thought I might take a chance on. Then I went to the Sue Ryder shop, and once again took a chance on some CDs from there. Several of the CDs were "Brit Pop", and while I knew the names of the bands, I rarely recognised any tracks on the disks. One good disk was a best of Van Morrison. It was only good because it has quite a lot of his very early stuff on it, and none/few of his later sludgy songs.

 With the charity shops visited I decided that I felt brave enough to go into the Rumanian shops to see what they had in there. The answer was not a lot that I was interested in. I expected more cheeses, but there was only one that interested me. It was described as a smoked yellow cheese. I bought a pack of it, but have yet to try it. One problem was that the shop is not very well lit, and I didn't have any reading glasses with me. It meant taking a guess on what some of the pre-packaged meat was. I bought what seemed to be some smoked pork, but it wasn't until I got it home, and in good light, that I noticed there was an English description.

  It was indeed smoked belly of pork, and it was already cooked and ready to eat. I thought it would benefit from 20 minutes in my mini oven to dry it out a bit. I had a little of it for my lunch, and it was nice. It was a lot less fatty than I would expect of pork belly, and in some ways it was a bit like bacon. I think I am going to dice the rest of it and cook it with sprouts. They should go well together.

  After the Rumanian shop I headed into more familiar territory - Poundstretcher. I only bought two things from there, and one of them was a 6 pack of half litre bottles of sugar free Irn Bru. I should have smelled a rat when I saw the price. That 6 pack cost just £1. When I got it home, and chilled one of the bottles, I found out why it was so cheap. It was well beyond it's "best before" date, and the one bottle I opened had lost it's fizz. I can see myself pouring the other bottles straight down the drain if they aren't fizzy when I open them.

  My final visit before going home was to the SAM 99p shop. The most significant things I bought from there was a couple of packs of cake like things that are going to severely stress my Pancreas if I don't limit how many I eat in one day. Unfortunately I failed to do that yesterday, and ate far too many of the sweet things. The reason why I usually avoid things like that is that they are so hard to ignore once you know they are in the cupboard ! Maybe I was just feeling rebelious after boring Sunday, or maybe I was dissatisfied with my dinner in the evening.

  I was quite happy to get home with all my shopping. It felt mostly effortless while I was out, but while it wasn't exactly chilly, it wasn't that comfortable in just a t-shirt. On top of that, I was deliberately wearing a pair of trainers that were not comfortable. They aren't actually painful to wear, and I am hoping that one day, after many short walks in them, I will break them in. I feel they have the potential to be comfortable because I can't put my finger on why they are uncomfortable. Maybe they are a tiny bit too narrow, and maybe the canvas is over starched.

  I think it was gone 2pm when I had put all my shopping away, and it seemed like time for a siesta. I definitely laid down on my bed, but I don't think I snoozed....but I might have ! From then on I didn't do anything intereresting until much later in the evening. At about 6pm I had my dinner - a sort of diced pork stew with some potato and leek and stuff. I found it to be annoying bland....well maybe not bland, but nothing to get excited about. That probably generated the excuse inside my head to have rather more cake bars than I should have !

  It was a few hours later when TV became too bland to bother with when I had a sudden urge - the urge to listen to something that had popped up in my mind on Sunday night - possibly after seeing some picture of Southend Pier I had once taken. The name/title "It Stick Out Half  Mile" came into my head. It was a short radio series that I know I once recorded when it was repeated on the late, lamented, BBC 7. It was a follow up to the radio version of the TV series "Dad's Army". It was set several years after WW2, and brought many, but not all of the Dad's Army cast together. The story line was that Pike (Silly Boy !!) was now a much more mature 22 year old, and he formed an alliance with Hodges (the green grocer, and Capn Mainwaring's nemesis) to renovate the seaside pier in a nearby town.

  Unfortunately I could not find a copy of my recordings, and instead I ended up listening to three episodes of The Goon Show. Apart from having to break my enjoyment to get up and fast forward over the Max Geldray and his awful mouth organ segment, it was an enjoyable end of the evening. I think I had forgotten just how much classic comedy radio, and classic SciFi on the radio, I had recorded from BBC radio 7. I really must spend some time to listening to more of it.

  It was later than I thought it would be when I turned out the light last night. I was going to leave the heater off last night, but it was feeling a bit cool as I tied to get to sleep, and so I turned it on low, and then it didn't matter if I kicked off the duvet in the night - as I think I did !It was another night where I appeared to sleep well, but woke up too early. It was almost as if I was waking up to go to work ! Most annoying !!!  I got up long enough to have a wee, take my morning pills, take a screenshot of the weather forecast, and check my mail and stuff.

  Then I went back to bed. I didn't really expect to sleep, but I did. I slept for almost an hour, and I was just having lovely dream that was turning quite erotic when to my great annoyance I woke up for no discernible reason. This morning I feel quite similar to yesterday morning - mostly in vague working order, and not in much discomfort. As I write this the sun is doing it's best to break through the clouds, and the idea of sunny spell, or even better, is less of a fantasy than it was earlier. Maybe today is the day I jump on that random train with my camera. On the other hand I want to try and find more of my old radio recordings, and get them all onto one disk (and backup of that disk). I'd like to waste some time listening to some of that old stuff too. There are quite a few jobs around the house that I ought to do before May is over, and May starts tomorrow ! (Patricia will be visiting some time in June). I don't think I have any clue at all what I will actually do today !
Monday 29th April 2019
08:27 BST
  Yesterday was a cool, or even cold grey day. Some sunshine was forecast for very late afternoon, but I can't recall seeing any. I can't even recall it brightening up. What I do recall is some un-forecast rain in the afternoon. It was only a light shower, and didn't last long. I think there may have been a slightly heavier shower around sunset, and that one did leave the ground looking a bit wet. The maximum temperature was forecast to be just 14° C, but I am not sure it was much higher than 12° C at any time yesterday.
grey but less cold than yesterday
  There is no sunshine, but as I wrote this it seems brighter than yesterday. When I look to the north I can see a few blue patches of sky, and so the possibility of a sunny period doesn't seem as unlikely as the forecast predicts. Apart from late afternoon, the forecast predicts grey skies all day. The sunny periods for very late afternoon were also predicted for yesterday, and as I said above, I can't recall seeing them yesterday, and so we'll just have to wait and see what happens today. The one good thing in the forecast for today is the maximum temperature of 15° C. With less wind than yesterday, it could feel almost warm. The prediction for tomorrow includes lots of sunny intervals, and a top temperature of 18° C. That should actually feel warm.

  Yesterday was a Sunday, and by tradition Sundays are the most boring day of the week. It wasn't a good morning to feel thoroughly cheesed off. I thought I felt tired and I certainly felt creaky. I spent most of the morning laying on my bed reading, and trying to snooze. As midday approached I got bored with being bored, and realised I had to do something about it. I was thinking along the lines that it might be good to do some exercise such as using the stepping block I built last year, but hardly used.

  I preparation for this I dusted off my very rarely used bluetooth headphones, and gave them a charge for a little while. While they were charging I did the washing up, and prepared my dinner. It was a sort of pork satay - diced pork cooked with assorted vegetables and a big dollop of peanut butter. With that having it's first 15 minute session in the microwave, I grabbed the bluetooth headphones, and paired them with my Android tablet. Having started some music I opened the back door, and looked at the stepping block....

   I gave it a good hard stare, and decided I was not going to waste my energy doing nothing at all be wasting energy. I decided that a better use of my energy was to saw up some logs. It was certainly a shock to my system going from full on lazy mode to an intensive bit of hard work ! I think I achieved more than I probably set out to do, but then again I didn't set any particular goals to achieve. After a while I did cheat a bit by using my cordless drill to drill a series of holes across the wood so there was less to saw through. It helped a lot on one piece of wood, but hardly at all on other bits of wood.
the result of my hard
It doesn't look like much, but this was the result of my sawing.
still plenty more to saw up
There is still plenty more to saw up !

  I didn't have the brown wheelie bin in the back garden, and so I just left the logs pretty much where they fell. I didn't just saw wood - that was the energy intensive part of the exercise - but also did a tiny bit of weeding, and hacking off a bit more ivy from the fences. I timed my finish well. It was 99% because I was knackered, and 1% because it had just started to rain. It was just very light rain, and didn't last long enough to fully wet the path. Had it started earlier I may well have continued to work because I was probably wetter from sweat than from rain. Nevertheless, it seemed a fortuitous time to down tools and go back indoors.

  After all this time I can't work out if that work was better with music or without. As I was working I tried to convince myself that the music was good in some way, but because I was almost fully occupied in doing real work it probably didn't help in any way. Had I carried out my first idea of just stepping mindlessly up and down on my stepping block, then the music would have made it far less boring, although not enough for it to even approach being enjoyable.

  I felt much happier when I finished, and the assorted aches felt like proper aches ! It also felt like I now had a valid excuse to rest - although I didn't rest much in the afternoon. Various little things distracted me from resting. I did a little more cookery. I prepared my dinner for tonight, although I may add other stuff today. Yesterday I just started the process by using the other half of the diced pork I had bought from Tesco the day before. It would have been useful to have bought a pack half the size of the one I bought, but it was the smallest they offered.

  One little job I did was to scan the negatives of photos I took on a trip to visit The Bluebell Railway on the 21st February 1996. I took about one roll of film on that occasion. I can't remember what camera I was using, but on the whole the pictures were not very good. Some of the reason for that was that it was a really gloomy winters day. When we arrived there were patches of snow on the ground ! If I had been using a digital camera I would have probably taken a shed load of pictures, although at the time I felt a bit inhibited at taking pictures because I didn't want to look too much like a tourist.
Bluebell - The
                          Bluebell Railways iconic steam engine
I suppose everyone visiting The Bluebell Railway has to take a snap of "Bluebell" if they spot it.
A picturesque scene of Horsted Keynes
While many of my pictures were pretty lousy, I can't fault the composition of this picture. It's a shame that the light was not a lot better, but with a bit of post production it seems to capture the essence of the steam railway.

  I had a quiet evening. It started with eating my dinner. It was both a pleasant and disappointing experience. The addition of the peanut butter made it very "satay" like, but it lacked bite. I bought some very long chillies from Tesco, and while they were marked as mild, I still expected some heat from them. I even cooked them with their seeds intact, but I couldn't taste them at all. It seemed a waste of time even including them. Tonight's dinner, which I also prepared yesterday afternoon, includes more of those chillies, but I think  might add some hot chilli sauce to make sure it has some sort of kick.

  As 9pm approached I suddenly felt very tired, and started preparing for bed. I brushed my teeth, and then got into bed. I read for a short while, but with my eyelids drooping I put the magazine down, turned out the light - and nothing happened. For some weird reason it took another hour before I fell asleep. Even when I was asleep I didn't seem to sleep well. Some of the reason was that once again my bedroom was at that temperature where it feels a little too warm under the duvet, and a little too cool without it.

  I think for the second half of the night, and maybe even before that, I was sleeping with the duvet over most of me, but at about 5am I woke up almost shivering after I must have kicked the duvet off or something. After going for a wee I got straight back into bed, and pulled the duvet tightly around me. I woke up an hour later, maybe a bit less, feeling like I was cooking ! That feeling didn't last long once I got out of bed, and now, 2 hours later, I am thinking that I want to turn the heater up because it is starting to feel rather cool now. Maybe I need to go and saw up some logs !!

  One thing that will warm me up is a nice hot shower. I have to confess I didn't wash at all yesterday, and so I am very overdue for a wash, and I also need to wash and condition my hair. What I will do after that is anyone's guess. I am not going to wait in for Angela to contact me because I don't think she will. Maybe never again after I sort of insulted her religion (that I didn't know she had or cared for).

  It seems it may have been Easter weekend in Greece this last weekend (a week later than it is celebrated in most Christian places). Angela posted (or shared) a video taken in Greece that had as part of the caption "He is risen". The video featured a typical mobile phone portrait orientated video of a Greek church. around the roofline were a load of blokes with rifles, and on a certain signal (a ring on the church bell I think) they all started shooting in the air before the bells started ringing like mad, and the sky was lit with firework. On seeing the gunfire into the air I couldn't help adding a comment that said "He is Risen" - are they trying to shoot him down ! Angela refrained from commenting on it, but her son accused me of taking the piss - which I was !

  After I have washed and dressed I think I might go out with my camera. I am thinking that I might jump on a London bound train, and see where I end up, but it is a far from definite plan. I must admit that as I sit here I don't really want to do anything at all, but I do think I ought to force myself to do something !
Sunday 28th April 2019
09:31 BST
  The thing I remember most about yesterday was that it was cold. It may have reached 12° C, as per the forecast for the afternoon, but with no sunshine to back it up, and me being really sedate, it felt really chilly. The chill could probably be blamed on the wind. During the morning, and a little way into the afternoon, the wind was quite strong. Perhaps not strong enough to blow over empty wheelie bin, but enough to blow cold air into any crevices ! I think there might have been a sunny spell or two later in the afternoon, but by that time I wasn't really paying much attention to the outside world.
it wasn't shown on the forecast, but sunny
                      spells this morning
  This morning's forecast shows a higher probability of rain this morning (11 - 14%) than it does of sunshine (0%), but we have had many cheery sunny spells since sunrise. The clouds seem a little thicker now and maybe reality is going to revert to the forecast. Another small deviation to the forecast is that it seems to be 12° C already - 2 hours earlier than forecast. The afternoon high may not occur until 5pm, which is unusually late, but it could reach 14° C. In a light wind, and with the prospect of more sunny spells by then, it may not feel too bad. The temperature is on the rise again after a few cool days. It could be a very cool night (7° C), but tomorrow may see an occasional sunny spell, and the maximum temperature of 16° C. The day after tomorrow might feature many sunny intervals, and reach 19° C !

  I guess my average condition yesterday could be described as depressed, but that being an average means there were times when I was very depressed, and times when I wasn't really depressed at all. Curiously enough the time I thought I should have been most depressed, I wasn't. That was in the morning when I had barely worked out if I ached or not, and thought I was going to have a very boring day. It turned out that I had a very boring later afternoon and evening. Before that I was busy.

 I was busy doing two shopping trips. I think it was quite late in the morning, maybe almost afternoon when I went out to Poundland. I was after one thing in particular - photo frames - but I inevitably bought far more than that. For instance I noticed they had Arm & Hammer sensitive toothpaste. I hadn't seen that in any of the cheap shops for a few months, and so I bought a couple of tubes of it. I noted, but didn't buy, any of the tumblers and nice looking glasses that I hadn't seen in there before (maybe I was just not looking). The most important thing is that I found, and bought, a small selection of photo frames. At this point in time I don't actually need any photo frames, but it is useful to have a few spares on standby, bought while the shop(s) have them in.

  I think I had about 30 minutes rest, although I don't think I sat down for most of that 30 seconds, before going out again. This time it was to Tesco, and I bought quite a bit in there. The heaviest were a couple of 2l bottles of Diet Coke, and the lightest was a pack of Marmite flavour rice cakes. I also bought a couple of packs of cheap(ish) meat to make some stews with (plus a few supporting vegetables), and lastly, but most importantly, a bottle of Tesco Special Reserve Whisky.

  The whisky was important because while I didn't feel I wanted to drink any yesterday, and maybe I won't today, it seemed important to have a bottle handy like some sort of comfort blanket.  What I did drink yesterday was some tomato juice that I also bought in Tesco. The trouble with tomato juice is that it is often high in sugars, and so I can't just swig it down like there's no tomorrow. I have to restrict my intake. Curiously enough, the bottle I bought yesterday, because I couldn't find a carton, seemed to have a relatively low sugar content, or at least lower than I thought. I shall still try and make the bottle last 3 or 4 days though.

  With my shopping done, and my dinner prepared and mostly cooked, I had nothing to do for the rest of the day. I guess that is not an accurate statement. For a start I had a lovely lamb and vegetable stew like dinner to eat, and I am sure there was something else I probably did. It would be more true to say there was nothing I really wanted to do - except to quietly read. On my way back from Poundland I did call into the corner shop and buy the latest editions of New Scientist and Fortean Times. So I did have quite a lot to read - and I still do.

 One other thing I did was to have a snooze yesterday afternoon. The only trouble is that I don't know if it was a 2 minute or 2 hour snooze. Maybe I just rested my eyes for a few minutes while I was reading. Anyway, it was soon time to take my late afternoon pills, and it didn't seem long after that before I was doing the last 5 minutes cooking of my lamb stew. It was a nice lamb stew, but could have been nicer if it didn't include almost a whole, small, head of broccoli. The broccoli had been bought a while ago, and was just on the point of going bad. I decided I would use it all, and leave out the potatoes and mushroom. Oh well, I can have the mushrooms and potatoes in another stew today  - maybe a pork stew.

  I had already decided quite early in the day that I couldn't be bothered to go out last night. There was nothing that really excited me on last night. There probably was stuff that I could have forced myself to like, but what's the point of that. If it hadn't been for a bit of interesting-ish TV, and plenty to read, I could have been very bored last night. In a way I was slightly bored, but evidently not so bored that I felt any great urge to get to bed early (or did I ?). I can't really remember what time I went to bed last night. I feel it was probably quite late, but I have doubts about that.

  I'm not even sure how well I slept. For reasons that I have no evidence to back up my idea, I feel I probably didn't sleep well. If there is any evidence at all it rather points in the other direction. I can't remember getting up once in the night. I feel strongly that I must have, and yet....  This morning I woke up with a pain on the left of my chest almost under my left man boob. It was very localised, and seemed to be from near the surface. It was almost certainly a product of my Costochondritis. I do remember some fleeting pain almost above my right man boob as I walked to Tesco yesterday. I am wondering, with some of my other usual pains being fairly attenuated recently, if I am due another Costochondritis flare up ?

  I seem to be in reasonable working order this morning, although I wouldn't like to say the outcome of actually using any of my body. I wonder what I could do today ? I wonder what I will do today ?  At the moment the only answer I can give is that I will soon have a shower, and probably wash my hair. That inevitable leads to leaving a bit of time to cool off, and to dry my hair. After that life is a mystery. If the earlier sunny periods had continued I might have been inspired to do all sorts of things. I have logs to saw in the garden. I have a chest of drawers to move in the back room, and I want to do something rather more elegant that using drawing pins to hold up the shower curtain around the back and side of of the bath. If it was actually sunny this afternoon I may have gone out somewhere - even of it was to the shops or round the park. As it is, all I feel at the moment is the call of my magazines and the book I am reading. The good thing about Sunday is that it is supposed to be deathly boring by design !
Saturday 27th April 2019
10:08 BST
  Yesterday started bright and sunny, but it didn't last long. There were waves of clouds coming in. At first they were well broken so a bit of sunshine could get through, but by mid morning it seemed we were under a thick blanket of miserable grey cloud. There was a high-ish possibility of rain yesterday, but I don't think I noticed any significant rainfall. I have a vague memory of seeing some rain drops on the window at some time in the afternoon, and there was definitely a short and light shower around 10 or 11pm. It was a rather cool day, made to feel worse by the grey conditions, with a brief high of 15° C early in the afternoon.
  I thought yesterday was bad enough, but today seems like it is going to be worse. The forecast starts with some drizzle, and I think I noticed a sort of dampness outside, but nothing more than a bit of damp. It is certainly grey this morning, and it seems there will be no let up to that until 5pm, and even then I am not very confident we will see any sunshine at all. It looks as if there is a small chance of rain at any time today, although none is forecast apart from the drizzle at 9am. The two main weather features today are going to be the cold and wind. The maximum temperature today may be no more than 12° C. That would have been good a month ago, but we have come to expect more now. It is going to feel even colder in the strong winds forecast for this morning, and then into the first half of the afternoon.

  The latest revision to the forecast does not change much apart from to show an even slimmer chance of any sunshine breaking through, although it does forecast a sunny interval at 8pm. Tonight the temperature will drop to something like 8° C, but during tomorrow it should slowly climb to 14° C. Tomorrow may be just as grey as today, but there could be sunny intervals from 6pm until sunset. Tomorrow (hopefully) starts the slow path to higher temperatures. In a weeks time the temperatures may rise to 18° C, but the forecast does not extend forward in time for long enough to show any day where the temperature may hit 20° C. Anyway, any forecast for greater than a few hours ahead is not worth the paper it is written on !

  Yesterday was a crappy day. The grey skies sapped my will to live, and not hearing from Angela was a source of negative inspiration. To rub salt into the wound I saw that she had not been at work yesterday. She could have told me that the day before. I am obviously being snubbed because I blanked Angela when she was with lover boy at the gig in The Catford Constitutional Club 3 or 4 week ago.

  I did not feel inspired to to much at all yesterday, and yet I seemed to have a very busy day. I spent a big chunk of the day playing with Jodie's videos and pictures she took at the Kayak gig on the 5th of this month. She wants me to make a DVD of them the same way that I made a DVD of the videos I took. There are some problems with this that make the job harder. Jodie shot 3 videos with the camera in conventional landscape orientation, but not only is the sound quite poor on her camera, she managed to miss the first few seconds on each song, and didn't really leave much of a tail either. the other clips were just short pieces, and in portrait mode !!! I just strung those together as a sort of medley.

   I came to a grinding halt when I couldn't identify the last (almost complete) song she recorded. I'll have another go at identifying it later, but I decided to call a halt to my efforts at that point. I did start to look at what work I would need to do to satisfy Jodie's final request - to convert her still pictures into a sort of movie slideshow. She took a lot of pictures, and sorting out that last request is going to be a headache. Oh well, at least I have made a start.

  I'm not sure how these things happen, and I wish I did so I could do them more often, but it seemed I didn't eat that much during the day, yesterday. The most substantial thing was a ready made salad from Iceland that I fortified with butter beans, olive oil with basil in it, and white wine vinegar. The latter was the first time I have used that vinegar, and it as less harsh than the Balsamic vinegar I usually use. The salad was nice, but I felt it was missing something - maybe kebab !

  When dinner time approached I fancied something meaty and substantial, and so I ordered a couple of kebabs. The idea was that I would have one of them for a meal today, but it didn't happen like that. I think I won't be using the Forest Hill BBQ again. Their only plus point was that they were very quick. The downside to that was that the chips I had ordered as a sort of side dish were only just cooked. Another few minutes in the fryer and they could have been crispy with a nice golden colour. Instead they were just cooked enough to be soft, and looked rather pale. The chicken kebab could have done with more grilling too. There wasn't a hint of pinkness so it had been cooked enough, but it was like it had been boiled instead of grilled. The lamb was similar, but at least it had a nicer texture. The final negative thing is that all the portions seemed very small. Instead of two meals I ate the whole lot (minus the pitta bread, and some of the salad - which was over 50% cabbage).

  I spent most of the evening doing nothing more stimulating than watching TV and reading (although I probably shouldn't say the reading was not stimulating). I ended up going to bed far later than I thought I would, and even when I was in bed I seemed to take ages to settle down and go to sleep. Like several nights lately (I think) I slept well for 3 or 4 hours at first, and from then on my sleep was more disturbed. I can remember having a long series of dreams in the last few hours before I got up, but I can't remember anything about the content of those dreams.

  And so begins another day. My usual aches, pains, creaking and groans are all still there, but maybe at a very low level, and perhaps overshadowed by a new pain. I first noticed when going for a wee at about 4am this morning. It was my left ankle, and it felt like it had been sprained earlier or something. It was very painful if I put my weight on it in a certain way. Obviously I tried putting my weight on it in a different way, and that sort of worked when I was able to do it. The curious thing is that it is completely painless unless I find that by position, and I only seem to find it by accident. I was concerned that it would be a painful, possible dangerous, thing when I went downstairs to the kitchen a bit earlier, but it was no bother at all. Maybe what ever was wrong has righted itself.

  Today is another day when I feel very uninspired. Last night I could have potentially gone to a gig, but I just couldn't be bothered. Tonight I could go to a gig, but I don't feel I will be bothered to go to that one either. In my defence, I could say that one gig would be a pain to get to, and it would mean leaving it very early. The other would be easy to get to, but not a very exciting time. I predict I won't be out tonight, but I think I might go out during the day - but only shopping. There is something I desperately want from Poundland, but I can't think what it was. What might be useful is a few cheap and cheerful picture frames, although I did get some from Poundstretcher the other day. I think I would definitely like to go to Tesco today. No doubt I would come away with quite a bit in my shopping basket, but the main thing would be a bottle of whisky !
Friday 26th April 2019
08:14 BST
  They tried revising the forecast many times yesterday, but the weather always seemed to be one step ahead of the forecasters. In real life, as I remember it (or when I paid attention to it) there was little sunshine until mid afternoon. There was also hardly any rain either. In fact I am not sure if there was any rain, although I'll admit it did look like it was about to rain many times. The cloud really thinned out later in the afternoon, and at around 7pm the sky was almost clear. The prediction was that the maximum temperature was going to be 14° C in the afternoon. It is possible it reached 15° C.
another day that may be too complex to
  I have a feeling that like yesterday, today's weather may be too complicated to forecast...or perhaps "fast moving" is a better description than "complicated". For instance there was a completely blue sky visible out the back of my house a bit earlier. A few minutes later and the view of the sky from the front of the house looked almost thunderous. Another look from the back of the house showed that within the space of 5 minutes it was totally cloudy in that direction too. Meanwhile, 5 or 10 minutes later and the sun was out again.

  The latest revision of the forecast shows it to be just plain overcast, no rain, no shine, all morning, and until 3pm this afternoon. Meanwhile we keep getting short spells of sunshine... From 3pm the forecast continues as shown above. One other small change is that now it is thought that the maximum temperature today will just be 14° C. Tomorrow is forecast to be mostly cold and grey, but there could be some sunny spells late in the afternoon/evening. There is a very small chance of rain at any time tomorrow.

clear blue sky at
This was the view from my back window at 7.40 this morning. It looks like the start of a perfect day. The sun was rising on the right hand side. It was a shame that little more than 5 minutes later it looked as grey as thunder out there.

  Yesterday was a strange day. It, or how I felt about it, and life itself, was heavily influenced by the weather, and by Angela. Angela's final message to me after I asked her to let me know a good time to meet was a very simple "Will do". It didn't inspire me with enthusiasm. At least I knew where I stood yesterday, and could arrange some amusements such as going to the 99p Shop and to Iceland. I also went into Poundstretcher.

  One of the things I wanted to do was to buy a few spare cheap picture frames. Last week, when I printed out a couple of pictures of Kornelia, from The Entourage Band, I had to clean up a couple of used picture frames. The picture frames I found in the 99p Shop were a bit crappy, but I bought two in case I couldn't find any better. I think Poundland probably had some better ones, but now the shop near the 99p shop has closed down it was inconvenient to walk to the shop on the high street. So I went into Poundstretcher, and found some nice frames in there - albeit a bit more expensive than I hoped for.

  I mainly went into Iceland to stock up on rice cakes, and squeezy tubes of jalapeno cream cheese. I also bought some sugar free chocolate biscuits and cookies. I could have bought some ready meals, but I restricted myself to just one "corned beef hash" ready meal. If they had any I would also have bought a carton of tomato juice, but they didn't. I'm not sure why I wanted tomato juice. It was just one of those ideas that pop into my head for no obvious reasons.

  When I got home again I had a sort of light lunch that wasn't very light at all, but was meant to line my stomach prior to drinking later in the afternoon. It was a bacon quiche, and although it would probably have benefited from  10 or 15 minutes in the oven, was still very nice. After eating my lunch I could almost relax, and I did relax apart from the time I spent washing a small bath towel and a couple of t-shirts. That bath towel taxed, or helped build up, a few muscles in my arms. By now they should like like a loony on steroids, but they are much more subtle than that.

  I was late setting out for my late afternoon drink, and I thought I was going to be even later getting there. I arrived at the bus stop with the Countdown display saying the bus was due in 3 minutes, but there was no bus in sight. With less than 30 seconds to go a bus came around the corner, and instead of stopping at the bus stand, as they would normally do, this one continued on to the bus stop where I was waiting. I was till half an hour late getting to my drink, but it could have been worse.

  It was my intention to only have two pints last night because I wanted to have strong beer, but it was strong enough to cloud my judgement, or I was enjoying it too much, and I stayed for one more pint. I left the pub feeling a bit drunk, but basically OK. Most importantly was that I felt comfortable. I had noticed on my shopping trip earlier that nothing really ached, and that I didn't get short of breath (although I wasn't rushing around). Last night I actually ran for the bus, although only for about 10ft, but it had no negative effects. In theory I felt good. The view from the top deck of the bus was quite cheery too, but it wasn't long before I was feeling very edgy for no specific reason.

view from the bus -
view from the bus - 2

  Two views from the top deck of the bus. The first was taken when going past Bromley Magistrates Court, and it looks a bit dark. The reason for that was that I wanted to emphasise how solid some of the little clouds looked as the floated in a mostly clear blue sky. Unfortunately the view was a little too restricted to show it well. The second picture was taken just as the bus was going down Bromley Hill. The view across London is rather good there, but my picture is supposed to show the expanse of blue sky. By this time the sun was quite low in the west, but it was still about an hour until sunset.

  I guess it was the effect of the booze acting as an amplifier for a few negative emotions, but when I got home I felt quite low. I didn't even stop to think that the walk from the bus stop to home felt just like it always used to - easy, but always far too slow. Even 150 mph would be too slow even when there was no reason why taking twice the time to walk home would have mattered apart from boredom. I did some research and found that the general estimate of Earth's life was 5 Billion years until a possible cosmic catastrophe destroyed this ball of mud. That would give plenty of time for the human infestation of the planet to be eliminated, and a new dominant species to rise up. Maybe they would devote more of their time working out ways to expand beyond Earth, and spend less time whinging about Brexit. I though that maybe Sunday would be a good day for the human race to be wiped out. Others disagreed saying they had stuff to do on Sunday.

  It was possible I was in a grumpy mood because of a very mild bit of discomfort in the gut region. I thought that maybe I had eaten too much dinner when I got home....  OK, I did, but only when judged for different reasons. I don't think it was enough to feel a little bit bloated, and a little bit uncomfortable when I went to bed. I think the truer reason is excess consumption of sugar free liquorice drops. Both sugar free sweets and liquorice have a reputation of having laxative effects, and I think I am going to add wind to that. Apart from wind I have had no dramatic episodes recently, but it would be true to say that I most definitely have not been constipated for the last 24 hours !

  I had a pretty lousy night with several long seeming dreams that had some nightmareish qualities, and this morning I felt I was up far too early. All sorts of bits ached when I first got out of bed. (I wonder why I never notice how much discomfort I am on when getting out of bed to go for a pee in the middle of the night). As usual, once I started moving many of the aches and stiffness dissolved away, although not completely. Until I try and do something more taxing than pounding away on my keyboard, I don't think I will know if I feel good or bad.

  I am pessimistic about hearing from Angela this morning, and I am working on the assumption that I will have to find ways to amuse myself today. There is much I could and should do, but at the moment nothing inspires me. I don't even find any inspiration to try going to a gig in Dartford tonight. My enthusiasm for that has waned further after noting that the band, M.T. Pockets, who I really like, won't be on until 9pm. Too get home from Dartford I would be wanting to leave before 11pm, and that doesn't leave much time to enjoy myself. I doubt I will be going now. Today could be a very boring day !
Thursday 25th April 2019
09:18 BST
  Yesterday started horribly, but it did get better later. The forecast said there should have been sunny periods in the morning, but while it seemed brighter first thing in the morning, most of the morning was very dull and depressing. It was actually nice when it started raining sometime around midday (+/- 1 hour). The first rain smelled nice, and the rain matched the feel of the day. The rain didn't last that long, and within an hour or so the sun came out. That definitely cheered things up even if the sunshine didn't last long either. It did seem a bit brighter after that sunshine. It seemed to be a cold day even if it wasn't chilly. The predicted maximum temperature was initially 18° C, but then it was revised down to 17° C, and I think reality may have been closer to 16° C.
brighter than the forecast suggests
  The early forecast for today does not look good, but the latest forecast looks a little bit better. Neither version has got it quite right as I write this with the sun almost coming out a few times. Just now it was strong enough to cast a very hazy shadow, but the sky still looks very cloudy, and while we don't appear to have had any rain yet, the prediction that there will be some showers looks correct. Later on, perhaps by 2pm, the sun should start to break through again, and the latest version of the forecast says the last two hours of daylight will have strong sunshine. The afternoon temperature is now thought to be as high as 15° C. Tomorrow was forecast to be be very dull, but the thought now is that there could be sunny intervals all morning, and maybe a little into the afternoon. It will probably become dull again in the afternoon. Like today, the maximum temperature is predicted to be 15° C.

  The dull grey sky made me feel very depressed yesterday morning. Actually it was a combination of several things that left me feeling very depressed. The weather was one thing - although the blow was softened by the previous day acting as a half way buffer between the earlier wonderful, almost summer like, weather, and the horribleness of yesterday. I didn't feel all that good yesterday morning. Various bits either creaked, or were actually aching or painful, and it did seem that my chest (Costochronditis) was on the point of having a flare up.
delivery slot
 The last piece in the puzzle was wanting to try and arrange to see Angela, but being constrained by waiting for news on a parcel delivery. The original email said that I would be informed of a one hour delivery slot as soon as the courier left the depot, and that it would likely be just after 11am. In fact the email came through just after 1pm !

  It said my parcel would arrive between 17:18 and 18:18. That meant I was free to do pretty much anything for a lot of the day until I had to go on high alert waiting for that knock on the door. I have to say that my parcel did arrive between those predicted times - bit only just. I think the courier rung my doorbell at 18:16 !! I now have just over 40 blank Lightscribe DVD disks, and that is now a lifetime supply. Those disks are obsolete and are now rare and expensive.  It is fortunate that it is quite a rare occasion when I need/want to burn a DVD disk, and label it nicely.  I also have about 10 Lightscribe blank CD disks in stock for when I need those. Sooner or later I must master direct printing onto suitable blank disks using my new printer.

 A lot of it was just in the mind, but many of my aches and pains were real yesterday morning, and I felt like I just wanted to lay on my bed reading. Had the occasion arisen I could have walked through the park to meet Angela. I probably wouldn't enjoy the walk, but I could have done it. What I didn't think I could do was to lay on the floor to screw pattresses to the wall and skirting board in a confined space, but I did it anyway !
new Ethernet sockets in
                      the living room
  This picture shows two things. The slightly more important is the two double Ethernet sockets now fixed to the wall and skirting board in the living room. It also shows that I haven't cleaned up after doing it, and that the cleaning up is going to need a bit more effort than just running a hoover over where I had been drilling. Originally there was going to be just one quad socket, but trying to get four stiff cables into a small pattress proved to be impossible. The solution, although it wasn't so neat, was to use two double sockets. At the moment only 3 of the sockets can be used. The fourth was to be for the connection from the cable broadband modem to my firewall. In the end I decided to wire that direct.

  The 13A plug gives an idea of the scale of this picture. The space I had to work in was just over a foot wide, and all the work was very near the floor. I had to lay on the floor to do the work, and it was still awkward to do. Both arm, bit mostly my right arm complained a lot, as did my right shoulder - one of the main sources of pain lately. It would seem unlikely that I would want to do more physical labour after that, but I did !
washing drying inside
  It was a fairly light load - just two t-shirts plus some underwear and socks - but I hand washed it, and as seen in this picture, hung it up to dry in the living room. For a few days it was wonderful to be able to hang washing outside, but until the weather becomes more like summer again, it has to be dried indoors. Doing that washing was the last physical thing I did all day. I tried to convince myself to do more clearing up of the back room, but I only managed about half an hour before I realised my heart wasn't really in it, and gave up.

  By that time it seemed like it would be a good time for lunch, and I had quite a substantial lunch. Apart from some mustard and tomato sauce, it was all meat. I thought I might have the vegetables later (I didn't). I had some strange, and while not nasty, not very nice Polish sliced and grilled pork meatballs. I thought they would be like burgers, and I guess that might have gone well in a bun with some other stuff, but the spice in them tasted a bit weird. What was a lot nicer was some smoked Polish bacon. I like that stuff, but even a small bit of it is expensive.

  Now I knew the expected time of my parcel delivery (the notification came through just before I had lunch) I knew I could lie down, do a bit of reading, and have a snooze before going on high alert. As the time neared for the delivery I went down to the living room to be nearer the front door, and for a better view out to the road. I spent some of the time scanning negatives. I had three packs of prints and negatives from one particular event. It was a railtour on the last operational "EPB" slam door suburban rail stock.
 End Of An Era ticket
 The railtour was on the 15th April 1995, and so I've left it a bit late to celebrate the anniversary of it. What was of particular interest to me was my photography - and in particular what camera I was using. When I started taking a lot of photos I was using a Practika Super TL SLR camera that I bought off a friend, but I feel sure that I was using a pocket sized camera in 1995. I think it might have been made by Samsung, but I have no idea of the model or even what I did with it. I have a vague idea it had a small zoom lens, and an infra-red remote trigger device, but other than that it was completely automatic. It might have had some sort of auto-focus, as well as auto exposure. I make those guesses on the basis that some pictures of old friends taken inside the train, where it was not very bright, were badly focussed, or suffering from motion blur. Pictures taken in daylight, even from a moving train, were mostly fairly sharp.

  Once my parcel arrived I could have my dinner. My original idea was to cook some mostly green vegetable, and eat nothing else. The idea was that they would balance the meat I had earlier. What I actually had were some crackers with some pre-sliced barbecue flavoured chicken on them. It was a rather lighter dinner than I would ordinary have eaten. I washed it down with some dry hopped pilsner style beer from Aldi. To be honest it was not that good, but not so horrible as to stop me drinking all 4 can !

  I watched a selection of TV last night, but at 10pm I turned off the TV and went to bed. I tried to read for maybe 5 minutes, but I realised I really just wanted to go to sleep. It wasn't quite that simple though. My bedroom was at that funny temperature where it was slightly too cool without the duvet, but too warm with it. Once I had worked out how many limbs to leave outside the duvet, I was soon asleep and dreaming of weird stuff. One dream concerned being on the roof of a high building in a strong wind. The only way down was off the side of the building, but fortunately in some way that remains unexplained, the skylight could be converted to a hot air balloon. I think I was still pondering how that could be possible when I woke up for a pee.

  I probably slept OK, and once some of the creases of sleep had been eased, I find I don't feel that bad. I think I could adequately walk across the park to met Angela at lunchtime, and I have contacted her about it. She did respond fairly quickly, but it was a rather unenthusiastic reply to say she doesn't know what she is doing yet. I think that means no, although I did say I had a preference for tomorrow because today is my late afternoon drinking day. Maybe she will get back to me with a positive response about today or tomorrow later, but I feel pessimistic about it.
Wednesday 24th April 2019
08:54 BST
  I felt cheated yesterday. The weather forecast said it would be sunny from 9am to sunset. It wasn't ! There was practically no sunshine at all yesterday. The sky was a milky white colour all day long. At least that meant it was not gloomy, but that white cloud blocked the sun. There were a few times when the sun almost made it through the cloud, but the best it could manage was a very bright area of cloud that could barely cast a very ill defined shadow. The temperature may still have approached the forecast 20° C, but without the sunshine to back it up, it didn't feel very warm at all.
early version of today's forecast

  Pictured above is a screenshot taken at about 7am of today's weather forecast. An hour later it had changed.

later version of today's forecast

  In 2 hours the forecast had changed a fair bit ! It now seems that the rain will centred around midday instead of late afternoon, and the maximum temperature will only be 17° C instead of 18° C - and even then, it will only be 17° C for maybe one hour, and 15° and 16° C are more representative of the day's temperature.  It seems to have most of the ingredients for a "not very nice" day, and yet there already seems to be a chance of some sunshine. It is a bit grey at the moment, but earlier it seemed much brighter, and I could see lots of small patches of blue sky to the north. I think that unless proved wrong, I will hold an optimistic view that there might be more sunshine today than the zero amount we had yesterday. On the other hand I can't deny that the weather has changed for the worst. Tomorrow could see even more rain, although there might still be some sunny periods, but the temperature will be no higher than 14° C. The day after that, Friday, could be very similar to tomorrow, and Saturday could see the temperature drop to no more than 12° C.

  I think that the lack of sunshine dealt me a terrible mental blow yesterday. Either that or my body was determined to get the rest it thought it was going to get the day before. I wasn't completely idle yesterday. In the late morning I went shopping in Aldi. On my way there I had a slightly odd experience. I was walking at about the fastest I thought I could manage - which was not as fast as what I would call normal, but it just seemed to be the fastest I could walk. Halfway to the store an old man crossed from the other side of the road, and ended up in front of me - and he was walking annoyingly slowly. There was nothing for it but to speed up to overtake him. To my surprise it was easy to do, and I sustained the higher walking speed for some time after passing him with no real difficulty, although I did slow down a bit later.

  I don't know why I was so reckless in buying a lot of heavy stuff while I was in Aldi. Along with the two 2.25l bottles of Diet Coke that I normally buy, I also bought a 1l bottle of "no added sugar" blackcurrant squash, almost a litre of white wine vinegar, a 4 pack of 330ml cans of lager, and a 6 pack of 330ml of diet lemonade cans. On top of that there was a 9 pack of toilet paper, some vegetables, and some meat plus some other, smaller/lighter bits and pieces.

  Lugging all that lot home took some effort, and yet I still managed a fair pace. Maybe not as much as I would have liked, but good enough, and I didn't seem to be fatigued by the time I got it all home. If anything suffered it was my patience. Even as I was walking I was thinking it was sort of lucky I can't drive because I would have been inclined to drive the quarter of a mile home at about 230 mph ! Travel is interesting until you have done the same route more than a dozen times, and I have walked the length of my road thousands of times, and it is very, very boring. I wish Star Trek "transporter" technology was real so we could have instantaneous travel from place to place.

  Maybe that walk, loaded down with so much shopping, did contribute to how I felt later in the afternoon. Soon after I got home I had some lunch. It was a couple of sandwiches, and so not as light as might have been good. After giving them some time to settle I considered what I might do next. I tried to start doing several things, but nothing enthused me. Maybe it was the subdued light outside instead of sunshine that sapped my enthusiasm, or maybe I was just tired.

  I did a little bit of work in my back room. I thinned out a bit of clutter on top of the chest of drawers that I will eventually be moving into the alcove to the right of the chimney breast. I also realised that there were a couple of deep pattresses that were screwed to the end of the desk that my PC used be on. One was for a telephone socket that was essential in the days when I used a dial up service to connect to the internet. The other was a TV aerial socket that never got much use. I unscrewed them to use later if I want to add an Ethernet socket outlet somewhere. Finally I put the box my new printer came in, plus the box for my now ancient mini-laptop, into the cupboard under the stairs.

  I doubt that lot took much more than half an hour, but it seemed to exhaust me, and I fancied a lie down after.  It did feel good to lie down, and just do some reading, and a short snooze was nice too, but it did feel like I was wasting time. I think my brain was still primed to believe it was a bright sunny day when I ought to doing stuff. The reality was that it was grey, albeit a very light grey, outside, and it started to feel very cool in my bedroom. I had the window open, but with no sunshine to warm the room it felt very chilly when I woke from my snooze.

  I did wonder if it felt unnaturally cold - as if I had a fever or something. I am not 100% convinced there was no element of truth in that idea. With the window closed I felt a bit more comfortable, and once I started moving I did warm up a bit, but6pm was approaching, and I was really looking forward to some hot dinner. One of the tasks I had done earlier in the day was to prepare, and pre-cook a sort of chicken and leek stew. The other main ingredient was a thinly sliced small (big peach) sized potato. It was surprising how almost crispy some of that got when only being microwaved cooked.

  I ate my dinner, as I so often do, while watching TV, and there was a very sad variety of stuff to watch. The 84th repeat of the Star Trek episode being shown on The Horror Channel was too fresh in my mind to be enjoyable, and the 6pm news was just rubbish. It seemed that only three things happened in the world yesterday, and the report on each one had to be strung out to last 10 minutes - or 1 minute of actual information, and 9 minutes of padding. I think I ended up watching The Simpsons on Channel 4 until that finished at 6.30pm  I think my brain became so warped by crap TV that I couldn't even concentrate on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine when it came on at 7pm.

  There was one other problem.  Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was a very lumpy Star Trek series. It combined loads of very dull episodes with occasional good episodes. Last night was a good one, but my pre-conceived ideas about the series, and the appalling dross I had watched earlier desensitised my desire to watch it properly. My attention kept wandering, and I missed the best bits - probably. I turned the TV off at 8pm, and just spent a bit of time on the internet, and reading the book of short stories by Arthur C. Clarke that has been my bedtime reading for the last few days.

  It felt like a lot of the day had been wasted, or at least underutilised, when I turned out the light at 10pm (possibly earlier - I wasn't really watching by then). I seem to recall that I was soon fast asleep. I think I probably slept quite well, although I did have a dream that was close to a nightmare. It involved going to a gig at some large inner London gig venue. It had a large bar, but seemingly only one person behind the bar. From time he would disappear. I waited and waited to get served, but the barman never seemed to pay any attention to where I was along the bar. As the area where he was serving thinned out a bit I moved to stand there, but that was when the barman did his disappearing trick.

  I was waking up towards the end of that dream/nightmare, but if I remember correctly, I was just about to walk out and go home having not even seen the band playing, and wasting my money on the ticket. As usual I woke up at first light, and maybe after going to sleep earlier last night, I did get a full night's sleep, but I still wish I had slept for a few more hours. This morning my arms seemed to ache a bit when I got out of bed, but other than that, I felt reasonably OK. Now I await for the first sunny spell to give me some inspiration.

  At the moment I feel very uninspired to do anything. I am not even sure I can go through the heartache of trying to see if Angela would like to met me at lunchtime. I feel very pessimistic about the chances of it happening. That was about my only plan for today, and even that was only more of a dream rather than a plan. I don't know what I will be doing today. Just to confound matters, I am expecting a parcel of blank Lightscribe DVD disks to arrive today. Soon after 11am I should get an email that will tell me an estimate 1 hour slot when my parcel will arrive. It would be sods law that it will be right in the middle of the time when I might be seeing Angela. Today feels like it is just one of those days !!! 
Tuesday 23rd April 2019
09:39 BST
  It was definitely very warm yesterday - 23° C in the afternoon, but the sun was disappointingly hazy. It was strong enough to cast a slightly soft edge shadow, but it lacked all fierceness. Bit of a shame really, but maybe it felt good to those who were out in it.
the last sunny day

  Today will be the last sunny, warm and dry day for quite some time. Once again the sky looks milky instead of blue, and so while it is bright, it is not sunny. That has been acknowledged in the latest revision to the forecast. It now says the sun won't shine properly until after 10am - maybe not until 11am. In compensation, the maximum temperature has been revised upwards to 21° C for just a couple of hours. It should be another mild night, maybe no lower than 11°C, but tomorrow afternoon may only reach 18° C. There may be some sunny intervals in the morning, but it is likely to rain in the afternoon. That sets the downward trend for the next week or so.

  Yesterday, being the Easter bank holiday Monday, felt a lot like a Sunday, and curiously enough, today feels like a Monday ! Not that these things mean much when you have retired from work. One thing yesterday was supposed to be, regardless of the name of the day, or the date, was a day of rest. It wasn't ! After being out 4 consecutive nights, straight after getting over the recent cold I had, I felt completely knackered on the fourth night, and so I planned to be incredibly lazy yesterday. My plan, if you can call it a plan, was to spend most of the day lolling around on my bed, reading and snoozing - lots of snoozing !!

  That "plan" got off to a bad start when I decided that yesterday should have been excellent drying weather, and so I washed a double duvet cover. Washing on of those by hand is about as far as you can get from resting - specially the wringing out bit of the process. Wringing that double duvet out at the end of the wash, three rinses, and conditioner, was bloody hard work. Fortunately I didn't have to get it that dry because I was hanging it outside to dry, and it didn't matter if it was still dripping out there. Despite the lack of strong sunshine, it was bone dry by about 5 or 6pm.

  I then spent a considerable amount of yesterday doing graphic design work, plus video editing, plus DVD designing, plus printing DVD labels on blank DVDs, plus burning DVDs !. Some of that was happening upstairs, and some of it downstairs. So I got lots of exercise in small doses going up and down the stairs all day. There were two reasons for this frenetic activity. One reason was that I am expecting a delivery, maybe today, of another 30 blank Lightscribe DVD disks, and so I will have a small stock of spare disks - hopefully enough until I perfect direct colour printing to disks using my new Canon printer, and it becomes a routine operation.

 The other reason was that I was rushing to complete a new DVD compilation of Back To The Fray videos. Angela came back from Wales yesterday, and appears to have had a good time, and yet something tells me it wasn't all rosy. I'm not sure if she is back at work today, or tomorrow. I am waiting to see if any clues pop up on social media. If she is available, preferably today when it should be warm and dry (and maybe sunny), or tomorrow, I would like to see her at lunchtime to give her a DVD of her daughter singing as part of Back To The Fray both last December, and last Saturday. I know she has seen all but one of the videos already, but the two from last December had rather thin sound. I have roughly corrected that. I think she will be delighted to get a copy of the DVD (and one for Miranda), but not only that, but of course I am curious to hear how her long weekend in Wales went.
late lunch or early dinner
  My food consumption yesterday was a bit strange. I think I had some sort of unhealthy snack for breakfast, possible some little crinkly baked savoury things, but that was all until mid afternoon. I found myself in that curious state of being hungry, but not hungry - which I know makes no sense, and is impossible to explain to anyone who has not experienced something similar.

  Just before the long weekend Angela had posted a picture of a salad accompaniment to some meat and stuff. It was prepared in what I believe is the traditional Greek style. It looked very nice, and I thought I would do something similar.

  Unfortunately, when I looked in the fridge I found that a lot of the salad ingredients in there were well past their best, and there was only so much that could be salvaged. Having asses what I could use I made up the salad in the picture to the left.

  It contains far more lettuce, and of the wrong type, compared to Angela's picture, and my salad also contains cubed hard goats cheese because I made it as a complete meal. I dressed it with oil and vinegar to which I had added a lot of dried oregano. It turned out to be a terrible substitute for fresh oregano because I could not detect it's flavour at all in the salad. Maybe that dried stuff need to be cooked to release it's flavours.

  If we had more hot, dry and sunny days ahead I would go and buy more salad, and eat more salad, but with the weather going downhill after today, I think I will probably be making more stews than salads ! However, when the weather is right again, I look forward to more salad with fresh herbs in it.

  After a very late lunch I had an even later dinner, although it was more snack than dinner. It was a couple of Turkish sausages that I grilled. I noted that the pack said "garlic sausage", and I think they may have been ready to eat once the thick skin had been peeled off, but I gave them a good grilling before eating them. There were only 2 in the packet, and they were not that much bigger than the average British "banger" (uncooked), but they were jammed with much more taste - albeit garlicky taste that repeated on me for some time afterwards.

  One curious thing about yesterday was that I never turned the TV on all (although I did use the big TV downstairs to check my home made DVDs). I guess it was some measure of how busy I was - which seems very much at odds with my intention to try and be a slob at a gold plus level ! I did have one unexpected addition to my activities yesterday - a very rare call from Sue. She felt bold enough to ask if I could help her with something she wants to do.

  Her iPhone does a pretty good job of recording the sound when she takes videos at all the gigs she goes to. It appears that she has got into the habit of using a bluetooth connected speaker to play the audio from the videos while she is doing stuff at home, but that ties up her phone. Her idea, and with some limitations is a good one, is to copy the videos from the phone to a computer (my computer), strip off the sound from the video, and maybe with a bit of editing, generally top and tailing, burn it to CD audio disks that she can play in her CD player.  The limitations are that she has probably clipped the beginning and the end of the song, and the audio quality, while good, is not that good. On the other hand, I guess she is comfortable with the audio quality as it is - often complete with a lot of background noise - and she will be happy with the results of a lot of hard work on my part.

  Sue originally called at about 8 or 9pm, but couldn't spend too long on the phone because she had a mate with her. She asked if she could call back later. I said yes, and it must have been around 11pm when she called back. I was already in bed at that point, but I was only reading. We chatted until 1am this morning when I said I had to get to bed. It was quite an early end of a phone call with Sue !

  I expected, or hoped that I would fall asleep almost instantly when I tired the light out, but  was probably on my second wind by then. Worse than that was that soon after my head hit the pillow I must have breathed in some dust or something. My throat seemed incredibly dry, and I started coughing. It was just a dry tickly cough, but it took something like 15 to 20 minutes to calm down. Once I finally got to sleep I was OK for the rest of the night - except once again, I seemed to wake at first light again - hours earlier than I thought I ought to wake up.

   This morning, now I have settled down, and had time to try out a few muscles, I find that I am not not too bad a condition, but far from a good one. My arms feel rather achey. Maybe it was manhandling that double duvet cover when I was hand washing it, or maybe something else. "Something else" could well be the case because it is not exactly a new pain, although a few characteristics may have changed a bit. It is still a fear of mine that it is the early stages of some arthritic, or rheumatic condition that is going to get a lot worse over time.

  It is still my hope that I will find Angela is at work today, and that she will respond positively to an invite to meet at lunchtime, but I am going to assume that will not happen today. That leaves me with a few other things I might do. One thing is to go and buy some shopping - possibly two shopping trips to different stores. The other fanciful idea I had was to go out frolicking in the sunshine. As yet there is no sunshine, and so that idea just remains as a sort of pipe dream. I fear that today I will have to carry on with my project to clear up the back room - unless I want to start sawing logs in the garden. Either task has to be done one day, but I don't feel much like doing either today.
Monday 22nd April 2019
09:37 BST
  It was rather lovely yesterday. The sun was shining, and it felt nice and warm - maybe even the forecast 23° C.
more sunshine

  The forecast today looks as if today should be practically the same as yesterday, but as so frequently happens, reality messes it up. It should be bright and sunny right now according to the forecast, but the reality is that it is just bright. I can see where the sun should be in the sky by the intolerably bright area, but the light coming from it is very diffused, and it seems to be getting worse. Assuming this is just a temporary thing, it should be a bright sunny day like yesterday, and once again the temperature could peak at 23° C like yesterday, although only for a couple of hours today. It should be another very mild night, and tomorrow is currently predicted to be a slightly muted version of today. The day after may see some rain, and the days will get progressively cooler for a while.

  I felt a little fatigued yesterday, and decided to do very little, but very little still included hand washing a hand towel, and a few other bits of pieces, and hanging it on the line outside. It was all perfectly dry by about 6pm despite being in the shade all the time it was out there - although as the seasons progress I did note that the sun was getting high enough to start getting close where the washing was drying. Maybe in another month and a bit the sun will actually be high enough to shone down on my washing.

  The other break in my relaxation was to meet Dik from The Entourage Band in The Catford Bridge Tavern for a couple of beers, and give him copies of some of the pictures I had taken at his gig last Friday night. I also gave home copies of the raw video files from my camera - at about 2GB per video. He wants to try and edit them himself. I hope his PC doesn't choke on such big files. I also gave him two framed photos of Kornelia to give to her when he sees he next. As I sort of suspected, he says she will delighted to see them. It's a shame that I only had a couple of cleaned up secondhand frames to use. New ones, albeit a bit poor quality if you look too closely, can be bought from the 99p and £1 shops, but I didn't have time go to them to buy any - if they were even open on the bank holiday (although I suspect they were).

  It may be that the two pints of beer I had at lunchtime, actually a rather late lunchtime, 2pm, were probably my downfall...or maybe not. I had a plan, or indeed several slightly different plans about going to Stretchy's Open Mic, and Chain's gig last night. One version of the plan had me spending a bit of time at both. When it came time to go out I didn't really feel like going to either, but I seemed to set myself a challenge of going out, and I couldn't back down from it.

  My final plan was to go to the bus stop on the main road, and see which bus arrived first. I arrived on the wrong side of the main road to see a 54 bus - the bus to Beckenham, and Chain's gig, go sailing past. It was obvious that a 208 bus, to Bromley, and Stretchy's Open Mic, would arrive before another 54, and of course that was the case. I waited no more than 5 minutes before a 208 turned up, and I was on my way to Bromley.

  I arrived in the pub at about 10 past 8pm, and in cloud cuckoo land the gig would have started by then, but everyone else turned up quite late, and nothing really happened until 9pm. I had a couple of pints of Guinness, and took a few snaps.
Stretch starting the
                      session off
  I think Stretch actually started before even 2 other musicians had turned up !
Stretch and Vince
Vince adding a bit of percussion to Stretch's playing. I think the look passed between the two was because one of them had made a mistake !

 As 10pm loomed I felt very fatigued, but worst of all was that I didn't fancy any more beer. That may have been because I was feeling a very slight discomfort in my gut. In other circumstance I might have ignored it, or not even felt it, but I was monitoring my body carefully because I was feeling so weary. Time would prove that it may have even been a red herring because apart from a very smelly fart in the last few minutes, my guts seemed to be, and still seem to be in good working order.

  I checked the app on my phone to see when the next bus to Catford would be, and at just past 10pm I said my goodbyes to anyone I could say them to, and wandered off to the bus stop. It wasn't long until I was sitting on the bis heading for Catford. Now I don't want to imply that bus seats are in any way comfortable - they are most certainly not - but as the bus approached my bus stop I felt a bit reluctant to get up and go downstairs to get off. The next bit is weird.

 I expected the walk from the bus to home to be a terrible slog. I expected to have aching limbs and being short of breath. That wasn't the case at all. I have had worse walks home after plenty of past gigs. Last night it didn't really feel much worse than the average walk home from Aldi (the bus stop is 50ft from Aldi). I didn't have the energy to push my pace up to something higher than when carrying a load of shopping home, but at a similar pace it felt OK - far better than I would have imagined.

  Once I got home I got my second wind. I heated up a small ready meal in the microwave for supper, and washed it down with a large glass of whisky. I felt fairly OK just sitting at my PC, but not good enough to start playing with photos. The snaps I have used here were edited before I started writing this morning. It was near midnight when I finally got into bed. It took about 15 minutes before I found the perfect comfortable position, and I then went out like a light. Until about 6am I remember nothing except for some dreams. I think at least one of those dreams, about getting up for a pee, may have been real, but it all seems so hazy and vague now.

  I don't feel all that wonderful this morning. I would dearly love to get another 4 hours sleep, but although there is no reason why I shouldn't go back to bed for as long as I like, I feel sure I would be awake for a lot of it. I expect I will have many snoozes today, or more if I can, because I have nothing planned for the whole day except rest...and, err, washing a double duvet cover that I have already put into soak. I also have all the photos I took of Back To The Fray on Saturday night to deal with, but other than that I have nothing to do but rest and recuperate from 4 consecutive nights out. I suppose I might make a DVD or two as well. I want to give Angela and via Angela, Miranda, a DVD of the two reasonable videos I took on Saturday night like this one !

Sunday 21st April 2019
09:14 BST
  Too many sunny days, albeit sometimes just hazy sunshine, have dulled my appreciation, and I can't seem to come up with any superlatives for yesterday's sunny weather. Saying "it was nice" sounds lame, but that is all I can say. I think I have prematurely switched to summer mode, and expect warm sunshine everyday - shame it's not due to last that long. The forecast said 23° C for yesterday, and maybe it was, but the highest I saw on my thermometers was closer to 21° C.
just like yesterday

  It's looking like today, and tomorrow will be the same as yesterday - lots of sunshine, although the latest update shows a maximum of 22° C compared to the 23° C shown in the screenshot above. It is possible that tomorrow will reach 23° C, but after that the temperature slowly drops, and by Wednesday we could see some tepid rain.

  I didn't really do anything more taxing than sitting at a keyboard for a lot of yesterday, but I did do some hand laundry, and once again I was able to hang it outside where it dried by late afternoon. I didn't go to the shops, and nor did I frolic in the sunshine - two activities I said I might do when writing yesterday morning. I did spend quite a few hours doing photography related stuff.

  I finished all the selecting and editing of the photos I had taken at the Entourage Band gig on Friday night. I also printed out, and found a couple of frames to put them in (once the frames had been given a clean) the two pictures I showed yesterday of Kornelia posing for me. One of my plans for today is to meet Dik (aka Richard Torkaski - lead guitar, and leader of The Entourage Band) to give him copies of the video I shot of the band. He is going to try his hand at editing those videos. I have already edited one of the four videos I shot -

  I think that was the best one I shot, but another 2 of the 4 should be usable. Maybe if Dik is a skilled video editor he can cover some of the deficiencies  of my videoing - post production anti-camera shake would be good if his editing software includes it. I'll be meeting him at The Catford Bridge Tavern at 2pm. I hope he has Kornelia with him, but I doubt that will happen. I will have to use Dik to present the two printed photos to Kornelia, and just hope that she likes them. They are a sort of reward for posing for me between sets at the gig.

  Last night I went to my third evening out in a row. On Thursday it was just my regular Thursday evening drink. On Friday it was The Entourage Band, and last night it was to see Back To The Fray at The Lord Northbrook pub in Lee (very close to Lee station, but I went by 202 bus). Back To The Fray features the wonderful voice of Miranda Bell.
Back To The Fray
 This is actually a picture taken on my mobile phone - I haven't had a chance to do anything with the pictures I took on my big camera yet. When shrunk to this size the mobile phone picture doesn't look so bad. There is a lot of motion blur, some strange colouration, but Miranda's face is in focus. Miranda is Angela's daughter, and it was interesting to hear some gossip from her !

  It seems Angela very nearly came to the gig - without lover boy ! I gather their relationship is still rather rocky, and they had a big tiff just a few days ago, and it was very badly timed. Like last year, when Angela and lover boy didn't speak to each other for the whole journey home, they have gone to visit his folks in Wales for the long bank holiday weekend. Miranda says Angela almost said she would not go with him, but relented at the last minute. I've almost been trying to forget about Angela, and not to let my sweet memories of her influence what I do, but it still hurts to hear that she has so many miserable times with the guy she thinks she loves.

  Anyway, the gig was most enjoyable, and I hope I got some good pictures, and maybe some good video - although the lighting was very tricky for video - too much back lighting, and little front lighting. I didn't stay to the end, but I came close to it. They were supposed to end at 11.30pm, and I left at 11.15pm when I noticed a bus was due. Getting to the bus stop was interesting. I had eaten very little all day before I went out last night, and so after 4 or 5 pints of Guinness I was probably drunker than I thought.

  I had also been on my feet the whole time I was in the pub, and my feet were starting to get a little sore. Put that together with a slight amount of drunkenness and my legs/feet felt slightly spongy as I left the pub. It is just a couple of minutes walk to the bus stop, and it is just perceptibly uphill. I felt quite wheezy walking that short distance. I hope it is a fading legacy from my fading upper respiratory congestion, but it could also be a combination of carrying too much weight, and a legacy of heavy smoking - although I don't remember it being anywhere near as bad as it has been lately before going down with some of the extended illnesses I've had since the beginning of the year. They did leave me being fairly static, and un-exercised, for many weeks, while probably comfort eating. Perhaps now I am getting active again I will regain my stamina.

  After my 2pm meeting today, which shouldn't involve more than 2 pints, I will come home, have some lunch, and rest, and a snooze, and more rest before getting ready to go out again ! Tonight I want to be in two places at once. I particularly want to go to Stretchy's Open Mic in The Swan and Mitre, and I feel I ought to try and go to see Chain at The Coach And Horses in Beckenham. Fortunately the two are connected by the 227 bus, and I may be able to go to both - if my energy holds up !
Saturday 20th April 2019
08:39 BST
  Once again the forecast failed to account for the thin high clouds that sometimes made the sunshine a bit hazy yesterday. Apart from that it was another lovely bright and warm day. Even late evening wasn't any worse than "slightly cool". The afternoon temperature was about the forecast 21° C - almost like summer.
warmer than yesterday. Brighter too !

  Last night, at the end of the local news, the weather girl said that today wouldn't see the high clouds that stopped yesterday having perfect sunshine. If she and this morning's forecast are right, today should see strong sunshine all day, and that will take the temperature up to a very nice 23° C. Tomorrow may be a degree cooler, but basically the same as today. After that the amount of sunshine looks to get less and less, and by next Thursday it was will comparatively cold and rather wet - or something completely different.

warming up nicely
  By 12:32 it was warming up nicely, and that made it perfect to hand some washing on the line outside. It will be better when I am able to string up the washing line to go down the garden so that my washing can dry in direct sunlight, but the temporary little line I rigged outside the kitchen door seemed to do well yesterday. It might be permanently shaded from the sun (except when the sun is at it's highest in the sky for a few days in mid summer - maybe), but I noticed the wind was still jiggling my clothes nicely, and by about 5pm they were almost dry apart from a few slightly damp parts. I brought it all indoors then, and it was all bone dry in an hour or so.

  Doing that laundry was the last physical thing I did until the evening - unless you count doing some washing up, and preparing food for what turned out to be a very delicious beef stew that I ate late at night.
washing on the line

  I did my best to relax for the rest of the afternoon, but I don't think I managed to relax as much as I aimed for. Now and then I did a few little odd jobs. One such thing was to search the internet for blank Lightscribe DVDs. Although I now have a printer that can print directly onto suitable CD/DVD disks - assuming I can persuade it to print in the right place - I still sort of like Lightscribe disks, but it seems that the format is now obsolete. You need a special CD burner to use them, and not many people have them, and it almost seems that writable CDs and DVDs are rarely used these days. As ways of carrying pure data they have been overtaken by thumb drives. After quite a search I found one firm still had stocks of Lightscribe disks at a reasonable price, and I ordered 30 disks.

  During the afternoon I was really saving myself up to go out in the evening. This was greatly aided by it still being light when I left home for a gig that started at 9pm. The band were Entourage, and they were playing at The Crown Tavern in Lee (although I think it is closer to Grove Park than Lee). I had seen them before as Rincewind, but with a new singer they changed their name to Entourage (or to be pedantic, The Entourage Band).

  Getting to the venue was theoretically easy. I needed to get the 202 bus from the stop by Catford Bridge station, and then get off the bus near the end of the road that the pub is on. That bit was easy, but I am sure someone has moved the pub to be nearer Grove Park, and tilted the road so it's all uphill ! By the time I got to the pub I was short of breath and sweating ! My first pint of Guinness, bought by Dik, who plays lead guitar, was like nectar - and so it should have. I bought my next pint myself, and I was stunned to be asked £5.40 a pint of Guinness. That is like West End prices for a back street, suburban pub. It is going to need to be a very special gig to get me back there again !
  The shock of the Guinness prices was softened by Kornelia. She is the lead singer for Entourage, and she seemed to take a shine to me (or more likely, my camera). We had a bit of a chat before the first set started, and at the end of the first set I mentioned that I was struggling with the dim light in the pub, and would have to start using my flash gun. She said that she would hold some poses out in the middle of the room where the light was a bit better (but not  by much) so I could try and get some nice snaps of her. She seemed very professional the way she posed, but apparently has had no experience of professional photography before.
Kornelia again
  It was nice working with her, and I got a couple of fairly good shots, but it would have been nicer with some control over the lighting (it was all from above). I think a correctly wielded iPhone could have easily taken the two photos above.
Kornelia and Dik
 Back on the stage, and was still having trouble with the light despite using my flash gun. I wanted to use a wider angle lens for a wider view, and a smaller aperture for a bigger depth of field, but my camera refused to auto-focus like that. So I used my lens with the big aperture, and the depth of field was so small that I couldn't get Kornelia and Dik in focus at the same time.
Steve Cox on base
                          with Kornelia in the foreground
  In this picture I managed to get Kornelia in sharp focus, but Steve Cox, playing bass behind her looks to be in soft focus. Kornelia is a very good singer, but to do so she really contorts her face, and that doesn't make for nice pictures when she is singing. The pictures shown here were just a very small sample of all the pictures I took last night, and it is going to take some time to go through them all to select the best of the best.

  Hopefully I will find some that really show of Kornelia well. There is a special reason for that. She put a lot of faith in my photography. She had looked at some of the snaps I took on the camera's little screen, and approved of what she saw despite not realising that the little screen can make the picture look a lot better than when viewed on a big PC screen. On the strength of what she saw I was treated to a kiss on each cheek when I said goodbye at the end of the second set.

  The band actually did three short (6 song) sets, but 11pm was approaching, and I didn't want to get home too late. I wanted to reserve some energy to go out again tonight. I was also looking forward to eating the beef stew I had prepared earlier. It would be my dinner, and the most amount I had eaten all day. The funny thing was that once I got home I didn't feel all that hungry.

  Getting home was far easier than getting to the pub - it was all down hill on the way home ! I also had a choice of two buses even if one does take a slightly irritating route. There is one stop in Catford that the 202 and 160 both stop at that I could have used to go to the pub, and that stop is by the Lewisham Theatre, but that is a slightly longer walk than the bis stop I used. On the journey back to Catford there is a slight advantage of getting the 160 - it stops on the right side of the road by Catford Bridge station, even if the route it uses to get there is a bit weird.

  What I should have done when I got home was to ignore my curiosity about my home made stew, and not bothered to eat. I didn't feel hungry at that point, but curiosity got the better of me, and once I started to sample the stew I couldn't stop until I had eaten it all. It certainly made me feel nice and full, but not over full, and it was a nice warm feeling. It was a mild night, and I hadn't put any heating on in my bedroom. So that inner warm feeling was just right to snuggle down under the duvet.

  I probably slept better last night than I have for ages. My only regret is that it didn't last twice as long ! It seem my upper respiratory congestion is still slowly dwindling. I didn't cough much last night, and I wasn't bothered by any coughing in the night, although I did cough up some mucus once or twice. This morning I am still occasionally coughing, and sometimes I cough up some mucus, but my throat no longer feels congested. I can probably put away my blue inhaler again until the next time I get a very congested, although I have to admit that if I had had it with me I would have had a couple of squirts to help my breathing as I went up the hill to the pub last night !

  I guess I feel mostly OK this morning. My right elbow feels a bit stiff and sore, but that is probably a legacy of when I once dislocated it, and it didn't pop back in for at least a month or two. I blame one of the illnesses I've had recently for making it flare up. It was possibly the 'flu virus I seemed to catch from the 'flu vaccine.... Anyhow, today I could probably do something or another, but I am not sure what yet. It could be a bit of laundry, or it could be a walk to the shops. It would be nice to frolic in the sunshine, but really I am saving myself for another gig tonight. It has finally been billed as The Life Of Brian by The Lord Northbrook pub, just 48 hours before it happens, but I think it is going to be Back To The Fray - a sort of acoustic version of Life Of Brian.
Friday 19th April 2019
09:27 BST
  Yesterday was good, also disappointing. It was as warm as the forecast promised, but most of the sunshine was rather weak hazy sunshine. That failed to give the thrill I was hoping for. Even so, the afternoon high of 19° C was rather good, and it was a warm, or mild evening.
starting sunny and warmer than the days as
                      little as a week ago

  This morning is brighter than yesterday morning, and the sky seems clearer, but once again the sun seems a bit hazy. All being well, that haze will dissipate to give a gloriously sunny day with an amazing top temperature of 21° C. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be even better than today with an afternoon temperature of 23° C !
full moon last night

  Last night there was some thin cloud around, but I didn't have to wait more than 5 minutes before the sky cleared enough to take this picture of the full moon - except it isn't full ! A certain pedantic said the moon would not be full until today, and at 12:12 in the afternoon - which is not a good time to see and photograph the moon. It's probably worse than that. I would guess that at just gone midday today, the moon would not even be in the part of the sky visible from London, and it would probably be over somewhere like China. So last night was as good as any time to say the moon was full, although I would admit that it will probably be just as full if we see it tonight.

  Yesterday started off a bit good, and ended a bit bad - except for my moon photography. Incidently, I took the picture of the moon using my Canon Powershot SX40 (which is still available from Amazon for as little as £139 -, although the brand new price is a staggering £383. I'm sure I paid less than £200 when I bought my one brand new 5 or 6 years ago. To take the above picture I had to use "manual" on the camera, and force a low ISO setting of 400, and a speed setting of 1/500th because the moon is always much brighter than the camera detects it to be (it's probably the black background of space that confuses it). The high speed shutter setting was also damn handy because it was a simple hand held shot at full (x35) zoom.

  While checking Amazon for the price and availability of the Canon SX40 camera I got curious about a different thing - specifically a Pulse Oximeter. It's the device a doctor or paramedic clips on your finger to measure how oxygenated your blood is. Some diseases or injuries can cause the oxygen in the blood to fall. My readings have always been very high, meaning my lungs are working at top efficiency, and that was even the case when I had only stopped smoking as many as 50 cigarettes a day for less than a day. I thought it might be a fun little toy to have, but I expected them to be very expensive. They are not ! The average price is around £20. Some, whose calibration may be suspect can be had for as little as £12, and others are probably over-priced at around £40. I think I may get one the next time I order something from Amazon.

   Back to Yesterday, and the first time I tested my body after my labours the day before. I went to Tesco to get some shopping. When I first started walking my legs, and a few other bits of me felt rather stiff and creaky. I also seemed to be breathing a lot harder than I would have expected. I went around Tesco at a far more sedate pace - there is no room to act like a boy racer in there. Having selected and paid for my shopping I found the walk home to be very different. My legs were no longer as stiff, and I was less, and more breathless. By then I had started to shake up the mucus in my upper airways, and so I had to cough quite a few times on the way home. I can't recall coughing at all while walking to Tesco.

  I had already had some breakfast before I went to Tesco - it was cold kebab with shrivelled salad. I didn't eat much of the salad, and didn't eat any of the pitta bread. After that I didn't really eat much more before going out for my beer later in the afternoon, but I did pre-cook some poncy maple syrup coated BBQ chicken wings. I think they were Birdseye branded, and I hadn't seen them before. I did have one wing for a late lunch before going out. That one, and the rest I ate later, were rather nice, and rather better than many cook at home chicken wings.

   I rested quite a lot in the afternoon, but I don't think I actually snoozed, although I did try to. At 3.55pm I set of to Catford station to go for my Thursday drink. It was a good and bad walk. I felt sluggish, and couldn't seem to walk as fast as I wanted, but paradoxically, when I came to the bit that always bothers me, that of walking up and over the hump backed road bridge over Catford Bridge station, I seemed to walk up it with far less effort than usual. Walking down the other side was obviously easy, but then I had to walk up the three flights of steps to the platform of the station.

  I guess in reality it seems less than the stairs at Earlsfield station that I used to dread, and maybe the biggest difference is that at Catford station the stairs are open rather than closed. Anyway, even in my current unfit state they didn't seem to be a big hurdle. I reached the top without gasping for air, or my legs aching - or not too much ! Everything seemed fine, but as I walked towards the far end of the platform I suddenly had a very painful stitch on the right of my chest - slightly under the mid line of my right nipple, and mostly to the right of it. That forced me to slow a bit, but I carried on walking, and the pain had almost faded when I reached my intended place along the platform. The pain had completely gone by the time the train arrive - although that was after quite a wait because once again I seemed to have walked to the station far quicker than I thought I would do.

  I had some nice beer in the pub. It was "Sonic IPA", and I thought it was a really nice tasty. Everybody else shunned it because it was as cloudy as a wheat beer. It seemed to be harmless, and still seems that way. Last night was one of those rare-ish sessions when I had 4 pints instead of my usual 3. Maybe I was thirsty, or maybe I wanted to try one other beer, or maybe I was heading for a feeling of depression. The latter kicked in on my way home.

  I was less than halfway to the station when I began to feel sad, although I am not sure that "sad" was the right word at that point. It was more like that feeling of regret you get when getting nostalgic. I was thinking that I wished for those carefree days when I didn't have to think about every step I took, and the multitudinous ways it could hurt or ache or whatever. It rather distracted me from it being a pleasurable walk in sunshine. Even the fact that going up the stairs to the platform at Shortlands station was mostly painless didn't bring any cheer. It should have done because it wasn't more than a couple of months ago that it was cold and damp, and my costochondritis was really playing havoc with me. The walk from the pub to my favourite spot on the far end of the platform was a real struggle sometimes, and the pain was in some ways worse than one of my two heart attacks back in 2013. Yesterday, by comparison, was a really easy walk, and yet it wasn't  effortless, and completely painless.

  Having got on that mental track it just went from bad to worse. On the train I got to thinking that once upon a time I could have gone home, and come back out an hour or so later to go to the once-a-month open mic/jam session at The Catford Bridge Tavern (which I think may be next week rather than last night). That generated even more sorrow because even if I did go I would probably bump into Angela and lover boy, and wouldn't be able to enjoy myself anyway. That lead on to even more gloomy thoughts. On Saturday night Miranda's band Back To The Fray are playing in The Lord Northbrook pub. It is easy to get to, and I really want to see Miranda singing. I promised her I would go - subject to unforeseen health problems. Normally Angela would go and support her daughter, and that would mean lover boy being at her side to restrain her from enjoying herself too much, or at all ! The good or bad thing is that there is bad feeling between the rest of the band and lover boy from when he tried to muscle in on one of their sessions with his bongo drums. It is possible he will decline to go, and maybe Angela won't either, but maybe she will go alone. That seems so unlikely, but it would be bliss if it happened, but I was feeling highly negative about it last night.

  I thought I was eating a lot last night, but with hindsight I may have eaten a lot less than I thought. I started with the last part of the kebab order from the previous night. I zapped it in the microwave to warm it a bit, but I didn't want to cook the salad. With hindsight I should have scraped all the salad off because it was pretty disgusting by then, and then given it a damn good microwaving to get it hot and juicy, and make the pitta bread edible. Instead I just picked the tepid lumps of grilled chicken out, and threw away the rest. Then I ate the pre-cooked (and reheated) chicken wings. They were very nice, but there was very little meat on them. I was still hungry after that, and finished with some crackers and "light" cream cheese.

  I can't remember what time I went to bed, but I think I might have got to sleep a little before 10pm. I seemed to sleep OK for 3 or 4 hours, but I woke up feeling very odd. I went for a wee, and then went back to the toilet for a poo. I guess I was a little hungover at that time, and that made me feel bad, and maybe the feeling of being both too hot and too cold at the same time may have been booze related, although it is a rare thing. I stayed up for over an hour, and I was close to turning on my bedside light to read instead of trying to get back to sleep, but eventually I did get back to sleep without that.

  This morning it feels like I have been cheated of sleep, and bits of me ache - more than the usual bits ! My chest felt stiff and sore. I think I probably rolled over to many times and came close to awakening my costochondritis again. A few hours later and I don't feel that bad, but I could wish to feel a hundred time better. I now face a dilemma or two, and they concern what to do today. Once I have finished writing the start of my day is already mapped out - before I started writing I put quite a lot of laundry in to soak. I thought I would start it early so I can hang it outside to dry. Until that is done I can't have a shower.

  Once I have showered, and I am fit to face the world, I face the difficulty of balancing my energy between doing something in the warm sunshine, and going out tonight. Maybe I might just go for a walk around the park, although I fear I will be too late to try and bump into Angela today. This is the weather for her to sit in the park during her lunch break, but she often goes shopping on a Friday lunchtime. So I don't think I'll put any effort into trying to "accidently" meeting her. Mostly I think I want to be fit and able enough to go to a gig tonight. There could be a pint or two of free Guinness involved, and so definitely worth going !
Thursday 18th April 2019
08:22 BST
  The forecast said sunny intervals, the reality was long periods of sunshine. It was sometime hazy sunshine, but still sunshine. The temperature probably peaked at the predicted 19° C, and in the afternoon sun it felt very warm !
another warm and sunny day

  It's a bit misty as I wrote this, and the sun is only just starting to break through it. It seems that very soon now it should break through completely, and we will be bathed in the warm rays of the sun - all day !!! Once again the afternoon high will be 19° C, but today it may that warm for a few more hours than yesterday. The forecast for tomorrow currently looks just like the forecast for today except that most of the 19° C are replaced by 20° C, and it is possible that one may be replaced by 21° C. That truly is going to feel like summer ! The weekend could be similar, but even warmer, but after that the temperature will drop, and it is looking like grey skies will rule again.

  There is plenty of good news about yesterday. Maybe the best bit of good news is that after an all night rest my new printer re-aligned itself when I turned it back on. It printed a test page on command, and printed quite a reasonable photo on just plain paper. The only annoyance there is that it seems to be quite slow. That slowness is made worse by the printer seeming to take ages to take in the date over the USB connection, and then spend quite a time thinking about it, before seeming to do the actual printing quite quickly - certainly far quicker than my first printer, an Epsom 640. That Epsom printer seemed to print in real time, but the paper would come out at less than a snail's pace !

  There is more good news, but touched with a bit of a tragedy, about the printer. Now I know how to load the CD tray into the printer I tried it again and it loaded first time. Then I tried to print a CD label, and it all worked, but with one error. It prints badly off centre ! I may be able to compensate that by offsetting the image I am going to print, but I haven't tried that yet. If it still doesn't work I have two choices. Either forget about it, or soil my hands with Windows 8 or 10 - the only operating systems that are directly supported by the drivers and software from Canon.

  More good news. I felt able to hand wash a bath towel yesterday. Lifting that very heavy, water sodden, towel out of the big buckets I do my washing in was heavy work, and it did hurt my right shoulder a bit. That shoulder has been arthritic or rheumatic, or something for months now, but fortunately the cold I had made it no worse (although when I was taking painkillers during the worst excesses of the cold it did make the shoulder feel better !). I hung the towel outside to dry, and by 5pm it was almost dry, but I took it inside to finish drying then.

  The final bit of good news is that I dared to go out and do more garden clearance, and I suppose the real good news is that it felt really good to be out in the sun with my t-shirt off ! I was often doing some heavy breathing during some of the quite physical things I was doing, and that seemed to keep my upper airways clear, and for a while it was like I was almost in good health. I didn't time myself, but I think it took between an hour and 90 minutes to fill the brown wheelie bin to the brim. Even when full I didn't stop, and did some preparatory work for next time. It wasn't a conscious decision at the time, but with hindsight it was a good idea because next time is going to involve a lot of sawing !
buddlia bush stump
  One lot of sawing will involve the above. It is the stump of an old buddlia bush that seemed firmly rooted in the ground, and was going to be something left until later because removing it seemed like it would be very hard work. I'm not sure why I did it, but yesterday I gave it a pull (or push) and it moved. With a bit more effort it just snapped off below the surface where it appeared to have rotted. It was probably held in more by the grey tile (or whatever) that it grew around, and can be seen as the grey thing towards the right hand end of it. The next time I work in the garden, which could be tomorrow, I will have to saw it into smaller lengths that are acceptable to go into the brown wheelie bin.
right hand back
                          corner of the garden gradually being cleared
  I concentrated most of my work in the right hand back corner of the garden. Underneath the ivy, most of which I have now pulled off, are the remains of 3 thin tree stumps. They are now dead and rotting, but still held together by the thick ivy that encased them. I managed to pull one branch, about 5ft long, and 4 inches wide, out, and that will need cutting up before disposal. With luck it should be relatively easy to cut. Other bits are almost loose, but I'll have to cut away more of the ivy to get them out. I also cleared a lot of vegetation in front of these stumps, but that doesn't really show in this picture. There is still months of work ahead - one wheelie bin full every week - but it is now seeming like what was once an almost impossible task will actually be completed. What I will do then, or how I will use the garden, is a question not even fully contemplated yet, although there was once an idea to grow vegetables to help out with the great Brexit famine, but any crop I planted wouldn't be ready until next year.
  I had just taken the last picture that records some of the hard work I had done in the garden when I noticed this very wood coloured moth sitting on the big tree stump. It is easy to see how it could blend in with tree bark, and it was my luck that it was sitting a surface it didn't blend with. I have failed to identify this moth using a google search, and the only other information about it was that it had only moved a couple of inches 4 or 5 hours later.

  Once I had finished in the garden I had a nice hot shower followed by some light lunch. It was once I sat back and relaxed, and presumably the adrenaline had dispersed from my blood stream, that I began to feel the affects of my labours. It was probably less than I imagined it might be, but I did feel rather fatigued. I could quite happily have laid on my bed reading and snoozing for the rest of the afternoon, but I couldn't. Earlier on I had been thinking of going to Tesco, but I didn't think I had time, or the energy for that.

  Instead of Tesco I went to the corner shop, but even after that I couldn't rest because I was expecting a visit from Jodie. She won't be going to today's late Thursday afternoon drink because she will be going to a gig, and she wanted to pick up the DVD's I had made for her of the video I had shot at the Kayak gig on the 5th of this month, and a DVD of video I had taken of New England in 1992 ! I was expecting Jodie at around 3pm, but it was almost 5pm before she arrived. I guess she was here for an hour to 90 minutes, and I was very glad when she left because I felt knackered.

  There was enough stuff to cook something nice in the fridge and freezer, but I felt too tired to cook, and so I ordered a takeaway. It was delivered just before 8pm, and I thought I was going to devour nearly all of it. To meet the minimum price for delivery I had ordered far more than I needed for the night, but it turned out that I needed far less than I thought. I ate what was going to be a sort of starter, admittedly a fairly big starter, and found I didn't want any more. I now have two full sized kebabs waiting for me in the kitchen this morning !

  Eating seemed to be the last straw. I wanted nothing more than to go straight to bed - and I did (via the bathroom to brush my teeth). I read for a short while, but I think I was fast asleep by 8.30pm last night. I know I woke up a few times in the night, but they were very dream like, and I was back asleep again very soon after. In theory it was the best sleep I've had since last time... Maybe the measure of it was how stiff and creaky I felt when I woke up properly at about 7am. I don't know how much I can attribute to my labours yesterday, and how much to sleeping so solidly that I didn't realise I was slowly seizing up, and pinching nerves as I slept.

  A couple of hours have passed since then, and now I don't feel nearly as bad - although I do feel a bit bad. Maybe even the worst of that will fade once I move around a bit more. Today I have three things on the agenda. I still want to go to Tesco. That is one thing. Another is to go for my late afternoon drink with the Thursday crew. That should be even nicer than last week when it was sunny. Today it should be sunny, and warm ! The third thing is to be lazy when I am not doing the other two things. Not just any sort of lazy, but lazy to a professional level !
Wednesday 17th April 2019
08:44 BST
  It was quite mild yesterday, but sadly it was a rather dull day. The few sunny spells were almost ignorable, and didn't inspire me in any way. The best thing was that it was dry, and the temperature probably hit the forecast 14° C.
righter and warmer - with luck

  It seemed to be a very mild night, and a starting temperature of 8° C today seems fair. There should have been some sunny spells earlier, and maybe there was, but I've only just opened the curtains. Right now there is some slightly hazy sunshine coming through a misty looking sky. The forecast only predicted sunny spells, and so what I am seeing now could be quite realistic. Since I took the screenshot above the forecast has been revised to predict pure sunshine until 3pm, and then back to sunny intervals. It should be a dry day, and a the temperature will be tickling the bottom end of hot ! The late afternoon temperature should reach 19° C, and apparently there is a small chance it could hit 20° C. Tomorrow could be similar - but reversed - sunny periods in the morning, and sunshine in the afternoon.

  I did little but prepare myself for my appointment with the doctor yesterday morning. That included getting slightly better - just what you don't want when seeing a doctor. The doctor I saw was the same one I saw a few weeks back. He seems quite good and rather straightforward. It can be both good and bad that he does his best to keep visits short so that he can keep to time. Sometimes an extra 5 minutes might be nice, but it is also nice to be seen within a minute or two of the appointment time. I might have even been summoned to his room one minute early !

  The doctor listened to my chest, and declared that he could hear no sign of any lung infection. The Pulse-Oximeter, the instrument they clip on your finger, backed up that diagnosis. It showed my lungs were in very good working order with an uptake of 99% of the Oxygen offered. Apparently that is the highest reading most doctors ever see. Maybe not bad for a smoker on long term pause - I will start smoking again on my 80th birthday (even if just for the day) !  What the doctor did hear was a lot of congestion in the upper airways, and said I would just have to be patient until they cleared themselves.

 He suggested that I could try some over the counter cough remedies, and typical advice your mother or grandmother would offer - stay out of the cold night air, or the rain. One thing he did do was to write me a prescription for another asthma inhaler. There is no recognised reason why I need one, and they are not recommended for heart patients - at least not the one I use, although I am not sure if I am classified as a heart patient any more. As I explained to the doctor, and have explained here before, the beauty of those inhalers is that they open up the airways so you can have a much more powerful cough to clear the throat of mucus.  That is really handy at night when the alternative is to spend the night trying to cough a bubbly, tickly bit of mucus from the throat.

  After leaving the surgery I popped into the pharmacy (actually in the same building) to pick up my inhaler, and then wandered around to Poundland. I wanted to pick up at least a 4 pack of sugar free limeade, but made the stupid mistake of grabbing a non sugar free version. I also deliberately picked up a couple of cans of Cream Soda and 7 Up. Both were 3 cans for £1, and the latter was sugar free. The Cream Soda was not sugar free, but was low-ish sugar. I wanted it for a treat, and the one can I had was rather delicious. Well mostly delicious. Maybe my brain was secretly sending me signals that I should keep the other 2 cans for a rainy day by making the last mouthful or two start to taste a little too sweet and cloying - or perhaps that was just the can starting to warm up after being chilled when I started it.

  When I got home it was time for some lunch. I only had a small lunch, but it seemed to make me feel very tired. It does still seem that my body is fighting off some infection, and it is taking it's toll on me. I started off just resting while doing a bit of reading, but it wasn't long before I started to have a fairly long snooze. Before I knew it, it was almost time to take my evening pills - or 4pm. I decided I couldn't let the day pass without doing something, and I decided that it was time I tested the new printer I had bought.

  I went through the pre-use setup before connecting it to my laptop. It was recognised straight away as being a Cannon Pixma printer, although only by the printer series rather than the exact model number. To my delight the printer control panel included options to print to CDs as well as a whole host of different papers. It printed out a test print perfectly, although it was rather slow to do so. Then I decided to do a test print to a CD - the reason I bought it in the first place. That is when things went wrong. The stupid multi-lingual guide sheets were very vague about how to use the CD tray. I fear I may have damaged the printer by not inserting it properly. The guide sheets were so vague that it was hard to work out where the slot was, and there was definitely no mention of pulling a certain flap down until it clicked. The click is when it raised something inside, and without that something raised the CD carrier seemed difficult to insert. I probably used a bit too much force, and I may have done some damage. I decided to leave it last night, and come back to it later. I might have to return the printer as faulty.....

  My evening was divided three ways last night. One part was having dinner - some smoky Polish bacon that was very fatty, and very nice. I watched some TV, and then, at about 9pm, instead of going to bed I phoned Sue. She os still suffering from back pain, but at least now she is getting some respite from it now and then. She certainly sounded much perkier than the last time I spoke to her. One of life's great mysteries is that she will almost never phone me, as if she doesn't want to speak to me, but when I phone her it is difficult to get off the phone again. In that respect it is as if she really does want to talk to me. At midnight I said I really out to go and get to bed. I finally managed to hang up at 36 minutes after midnight !

  It is probably a measure of my slow recovery from the cold I've had that I haven't taken any painkillers for several days now, but I did have to have a squirt from the asthma inhaler to clear my throat enough to get to sleep last night (or this morning for the pedantic).  Once I got to sleep I slept fairly well, and I had little trouble getting back to sleep again after a the few times I woke up in the night. I felt that I finally woke up earlier than desirable, but that seems to be a regular occurrence now the sun is rising so early. I did try going back to bed after being up for a while, and I think I probably fell asleep for a bit, but I was coughing too much to sleep properly.

  Since getting up again I have felt almost good. I have to clear my throat a little more often than I would like, but it's not that bad. My legs felt a bit stiff after having sat behind my keyboard for a fair time, but seemed mostly OK after using them a little bit (a walk to the toilet and back). It is probably the occasional bit of proper sunshine, and the promise of more that enthuses me to believe I am feeling better than I may actually be.

  With those feelings, false or true, I have planed an action packed day...sort of. I have already put a large bath towel in to soak in detergent, and my first task when I have finished writing this will be to finish washing it. I think today would be a good day to get it on the washing line as early as possible to give it a chance to dry outdoors for a change. If nothing else, it means I won't have to wring it out so hard, and it is free to drip dry in the garden. Maybe it will need a bit more drying overnight indoors, but I'll see how it fares outside.

  Once that washing is done my next great task is to fill the brown wheelie bin with more organic debris from the garden ready for collection tomorrow morning. That will be a very good test of just how well I am - or not ! When I have had my fill of raking, shovelling, sawing and suchlike, whether the bin is full or not, I can stop for a nice cleansing shower. Once I am clean, and after some time to cool off again, I can go and get some shopping, and then.... That sounds like quite enough for today, but I'll still have many hours left. I probably ought to have another look at the new printer, and see if I can coax some life back into it. I also want to think about the pictures I was going to show of Crystal Place station. I was going to show them today, but as usual I have written so much drivel that there is no space or time for it here today ! What I need is a boring day !!
Tuesday 16th April 2019
07:54 BST
  If it wasn't for the rather cool breeze, yesterday could have been an excellent day. It was mostly sunny with hours of clear blue sky. When the breeze dropped, or in sheltered positions, the 12° C felt very nice.
a day with potential, but not as good as

  Today shows much potential. It should be a couple of degrees warmer than yesterday, and it looks like the breeze will be lighter, but there may not be much sunshine. The forecast optimistically shows sunny intervals all morning, but as yet I have seen none. There were a few times when it seemed to be getting brighter, but the sun never made it through the clouds. Maybe it will break through later, but this afternoon is forecast to be cloudy, and at 6pm there might be a splash of rain ! Tomorrow could see the temperature hit 17° C, but although it should be a dry day, there could be very little sunshine - if indeed any at all. The day after tomorrow currently shows a lot of promise to be almost like summer !

  Yesterday was a rather good day ! I rested for some of the morning to allow it to warm up a bit, and maybe because I didn't believe it was going to be so sunny, but by (or was it a bit before) the lure of the sunshine was too much to ignore. I just had to go out and soak up some of that sunshine. When the breeze blew it was slightly chilly on my arms, but I went out with bare arms wearing the denim jacket that I had converted to a denim waistcoat because the arms on it were stupidly long. As a waistcoat it doesn't impede my movement, but still provides lots of useful pockets.

  I decided I would go to Crystal Palace Railway Station to do a bit of photography, and I would go the long way around. I started out by walking to Catford station. That, and climbing the stairs to the platforms, were a good test of my capabilities. It seemed like my legs were working well, and although I did need to cough a bit to clear some mucus, I didn't start any uncontrolled coughing. As far as I can remember, I didn't seem to cough that much at all while I was out.

  From Catford I took the train to Denmark Hill where there is a simple cross platform interchange to the London Overground service towards Surrey Quays (and beyond). Surrey Quays was where I wanted to get to. Once there I crossed to the other platform for a train to Crystal Palace. The next train there was due to leave in 9 mins, but there was a train instantly available that would take me as far as New Cross Gate. I caught that train so I could have a quick look at New Cross Gate station during the 9 minutes wait for the Crystal Palace train.

  It was the first time I've been on New Cross Gate since the change from there being a single terminating platform for East London Line trains. Since London Overground took over the station it has been cleaned and brightened up, but more than that, the London Overground now has two platform faces for through services. It also has a lot more staff visible. I saw as many as three people who seemed to platform staff, and at one end of the platform I was on was a whole host of HiVis jackets visible. Some seemed to be permanent way staff, and they seemed to be talking to a couple of drivers. All completely ignored me and my camera except for what was probably a cleaner who yelled at me from 4 platforms away that I was not allowed to take pictures there. I told him to get his manager to speak to me, and then ignored him. No one said anything more, or even took any interest in the next few minutes before my train to Crystal Palace arrived.

  Since London Overground took over Crystal Palace station they have transformed it from almost becoming a derelict building with leaking roofs to a bright and airy, and rather grand station, serving far more passengers than when it was probably just a minor irritation to Southern Trains who were really only interested in running mainline trains from London to Brighton taking in the lucrative stop at Gatwick Airport along the way. At this point I haven't prepared any before and after pictures to show here. I am thinking that maybe they deserve their own special page. Maybe I'll think about that today. Here's a couple of pictures I took, but not at Crystal Palace.
full zoom lens to snap
                      my train approaching from far away
I don't know why, but I like the feel of some pictures taken with full zoom on my camera. This is particularly so with railway pictures where the foreshortening of the zoom lens makes every thing, but particularly the rails, look slightly weird. This picture shows my train to Surrey Quays approaching Denmark Hill station.
Southern train approaching New Cross Gate
Many more trains stop at New Cross Gate now. In the past many would just whizz through on the fast lines. This Southern train was one that would stop there. It is seen here through the zoom lens, maybe as much as a quarter of a mile away as it approaches New Cross Gate.

  I was tempted to go and take some pictures of the famous dinosaurs in Crystal Palace Park, but something inside me told me not to push myself too hard. It turned out to be wise advice. There were many ways of getting home from Crystal Palace. If I had waited for a while I could have got a Southern Train to Beckenham Junction station, and then a 54 bus back to Catford, but not this time. I had a plan forming in my mind, and while it involved getting a bus back to Catford, I wanted to end up back near Catford Bridge station - which the 54 bus does not pass.

  I caught the next London Overground train, which was waiting at the terminal platform, and would depart after only a 5 minute wait. My initial thought was to get it as far as Forest Hill, and then get the 185 bus - a route I have used before - but then I realised that if I got off at Sydenham I could get the 202 bus whose stop in Catford was 100ft nearer my objective there. That is what I did, but I may have made a mistake and walked to a more distant bus stop than was possible. It was probably a couple of minutes walk to the stop where I caught the bus, or perhaps the bus caught me. We arrived at the stop together after what was a pleasant stroll in the bright sunshine.

  When I arrived back on Catford I walked away from home to the Sainsbury's Local store to buy a few ready made salads. Unfortunately they only sell silly little bottles of Diet Coke in there, and so I next walked to the Turkish Supermarket where I also bought some bean salads, chilli sauce, as well as the cola. I came out of the shop now carrying two carrier bags, turned the corner, and my house was almost in sight ( house a couple of doors way was actually in sight), and suddenly my energy drained away from me.

  Instead of a triumphant walk home it was a slow drag of a walk. It probably lengthened the walk from 5 minutes to 5 and a half minutes. In practical terms it made very little difference to the time, but it felt like hard work ! It was nice to get back in, and to tuck into a lunch of crunchy salad and a pot of chick pea salad. After that I had a snooze. The odd thing was that though I felt totally drained, my chest and airways felt almost fine, and I wasn't coughing - or not significantly.

  Apart from some photo editing, I didn't really do anything for the last few hours of the afternoon, and into the evening. I had ready meal style curry for dinner, and watched a bit of TV, but I felt that I would like an early night. I was in bed reading before 9pm (just) and it was possibly 9.30pm before I tried to go to sleep. I thought I was supposed to be very tired, but I could not relax when I got into bed. It was one of those nights when it felt like the pillows were sacks of coal, and the mattress was like a relief map of the Himalayas. On top of that there was the problem of feeling too warm with the duvet, and too cold without.

  There was one good thing that would have been even better if it didn't exist, and that was that my throat did feel clogged with mucus when I layed down, but it seemed very easy to quickly cough clear. I have no idea what time I finally got to sleep, but I do remember being surprised to wake up from it only to see that it was still a few minutes to midnight. I doubt I had slept for a full hour at that point. I did manage to get back to sleep again after a wee, and from then on I slept fairly normally.

  This morning I feel better than I would like to be. At 11am I am off to see a doctor, and obviously I would like to cough and splutter all over him, but I don't seem to feel all that bad. That is not to say I don't feel bad at all. I am still having a good cough now and then to clear, or try and clear some mucus, but it feel like my chest is now clear enough for the doctor to announce that I may as well let it finish clearing by itself without antibiotics to speed things up. As a general rule I try not to use antibiotics, and believe they are over-prescribed, but in this case, after so many relapses, I want this infection killed stone dead as fast as possible !

  After I have seen the doctor, and assuming he doesn't send me off for x-rays or something, I have no plans made for the afternoon, but I guess I'll be doing some photography in the form of photo editing. Maybe a bit of website design too. Assuming I don't get prescribed any antibiotics of the wrong sort, it is not impossible that I might meet Jodie for a few beers in the afternoon - she wants to get a home made DVD from me, but can't meet on Thursday for the usual drink with the Thursday crew because she is at a gig that night. Time will tell.
Monday 15th April 2019
07:24 BST
  It wasn't that bad yesterday. On the other hand, it wasn't that good. It was dry, and there were some sunny spells, but maybe I was hoping for more. Something better than an afternoon high of 9° C might have been nice.
at least it is just starting to get warmer

  If the forecast for today turns out to be right, it might just be a fairly good day. A fair amount of sunshine is forecast, and the afternoon temperature reaching 12° C sounds nice. The breeze, apparently coming from the east might take the shine off it though. Tomorrow may be a couple of degrees warmer, but it is predicted to be a cloudy day with no sign of the sun. Although none is actually forecast, the chance of rain goes up to 11% for most of the afternoon. The end of the week is still on track to be nice and warm.

  I possibly felt better yesterday than I had for the previous few days, but "better" didn't reach normal, let alone good. A good test was when I went out to Poundland. Out of curiosity I timed it. It took 5minutes and 16 seconds to walk there, but it felt longer, and when I got there I was feeling slightly wheezy with a tendency to cough. To be honest, it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. Even walking home wasn't as bad as I thought walking there might have been, but even so, I was more than happy to get home again, and it was sort of annoying that walking for 5 minutes should have had any effect at all.

  Before going out I had to wait in for my new printer to be delivered. It came quite early. The estimate was between 10 and 1pm, and it came at about 11am. One of the things I was not prepared for was how big it was for an A4 printer. It is because it has the facility to print on flat sheets, photo paper, and CDs. To achieve this it has the same desk footprint as a big old VHS recorder. As yet I have not tried it out, or even loaded the ink cartridges. To be honest I am not sure where to put it.

  There is one other difficulty with it, and that is that it may well be difficult to use it on a Linux PC. Some simple research shows that printing to A4 sheets via the USB connection should work OK, but to set up the inbuilt WiFi connection needs one of two things. The first is a WiFi router with a WPS button that provides a very insecure way of introducing the printer to the access point (or vice versa). The other way is via a control panel using the supplied software on a Windows PC. The trouble there is that the software will only work on a Windows 8 or 10 PC, and all I have is Windows XP. Fortunately I have no intention of using the WiFi option, although maybe it could be useful when Patricia is staying here, and Patricia's laptop has some new fangled version of Windows on it, and may be able to run the control panel programme.

  The difficulty of actually using it to print from my Linux PCs will come when trying to print onto CDs and DVDs. I rather imagine that the Windows software (and probably the Mac software that also comes on the install CD) has some sort of template for printing on CDs. The actual tray to hold the CD has a few mirror like patches on it, and it is my hope that the printer detects these, and knows it is printing to a disk, and knows the exact limits of a disk. If I am lucky then sending a correctly sized image to the printer will be sufficient for it to print correctly.

  My morning, and a little way into the afternoon, was a slightly busy time with a shopping trip to Poundland, and unpacking the printer to discover more about it. I am not sure why I didn't feel like experimenting with in the afternoon because I didn't really have anything to do in the afternoon...well not until I discovered that my tidying up of my picture and video files had not been completed. All I wanted to do was to check a few pictures from 2015, and found that year missing on my PC (and 2016). The files were there on my archive disk (and the backup of the archive disk), and so I set about copying them onto my PC (where they had originally been). The process had only been going for a second or two when I noticed that the amount of data to be copied was very many gigabytes !

  A closer look showed that they were the years that I hadn't split the photos and video onto separate archive disks. It took many hours to do just that. Many of those hours and minutes were quite boring, but some were interesting. I think I had forgotten just how much video I had shot during the heyday of gigs in The Black Cat. Most of the video was pretty awful on account of the terrible lights they had in the pub. These days I could have done much better using my DSLR camera in fully manual mode, but it would still look a bit like a dogs breakfast. With hindsight I realise that the rapidly flashing coloured lights may have looked quite good if they were diluted a bit with some constant white light that the camera could grab hold of.

  Going through all that video gave me an idea for a future project. I have videos of most bands who appeared at the Black Cat. Some are truly awful, but others are "usable". I am thinking of making a DVD of the best videos from 2016. Not many people would like to see it, but I think it would amuse Angela, and Michael my neighbour, who went to many of those gigs, may like a copy too. It sounds like a project for a long cold winter, but if I do it, it will probably before even summer has started - unless other stuff gains a higher priority.

  Maybe some of my appetite returned yesterday, or maybe I just knew what to look forward to for dinner. It was an extra special lamb stew - except it wasn't a stew by the time it had finished cooking. It seems I have learned a few more tricks for microwave cookery lately. Until recently I had never tried to cook a meat stew in the microwave. I thought the best was a long slow simmer on a gas hob, but several 10 minute sessions in the microwave with enough time between them for the stew to cool off, seem to work very well.

  Last night's stew was diced neck of lamb with potato and cauliflower, plus a few other bits and pieces. The last of a pack of chestnut mushrooms, that were getting near the end of the life were one thing, another was tomato purée, and then there were a few herbs and spices - although nothing particularly exotic - mainly just rosemary and pepper. At the end of the third cooking session, a quite short one of little more than 5 minutes, the result was less stew, and more like a thick sludge. Much of that sludge was the cauliflower and the tomato purée. I can imagine many people would think it looked horrible, but it was really delicious, packed with powerful flavours.

  The one thing I didn't do last night was to drink any booze. The reason for that was because I wanted to try and see a doctor today, and maybe get some antibiotics if the doctor agreed I did have a chest infection. I expect that I might have trouble getting to sleep without the booze, but it was about the same as most nights over the last fortnight. My airways would clog with mucus as soon as I lay down in bed, and what was a just an annoying tickle earlier became a real irritant. Maybe it wasn't quite as bad as some nights though, and sometime in my wildest optimistic minutes, I think I might be getting the better of this illness.

  I ended up sleeping far better than I had expected - certainly better than the night before which had started off about the same, but ended with a terrible bout of coughing at about 5am. This morning I feel as if I have taken a step or two forward, a step backwards, and maybe a step or three sideways ! I am coughing less, but maybe that is the result of being upright, and not laying down. Maybe the steam from the shower I had a little while ago has helped. One step back is that my nose feels a bit stuffy. It is not actually running, but does feel like it needs a blow every now and then.

  Maybe I feel a bit better because I have taken affirmative action. I have phoned the surgery to get an appointment. The surgery has a very strange phone system, and one that would never be allowed in the days when I worked for a well known state owned monopoly phone service provider. I must have rung the surgery number about 30 times. The first time was seconds before the 8am opening time, and I got the standard recorded message. Annoying, but perfectly OK. Of the other 29 times, about 25 of them ended with what used to be called "No Tone". In other words the line just stayed dead. A couple of time I got engaged tone with a silly announcement over it. Finally I got through to reception about 12 minutes after I first started dialling. Initially I was third in the queue, but I soon got through to an actual person. It seems that all the slots for this morning were taken, and if I wanted an afternoon appointment I would have to go through the sorry process at 1pm.

  I accepted an appointment for 11am tomorrow morning. Although it would obviously be nice to have cured myself by then, I hope that there is enough muck in my airways to convince the doctor I am not wasting his time, and I think it would be nice to be prescribed a course of antibiotics to help clear the bugs more effectively. If nothing else, I hope the doctor will write a prescription for another asthma inhaler. I was hoping to make my current one last two years (I only use it when I have a cough), but it seems after this cough it may run out 4 months early - or maybe not, but having a spare on standby would be good.

  Today I will be doing...... I suppose I ought to bite the bullet, and plug in the new printer and give it a whirl. On the other hand, or more likely in additions to that, it should be sunny and warm in a few hours (if the latest revision to the forecast bears fruit). I feel like a breath of fresh air might be nice. If I feel up to it I might go and take some pictures of Crystal Palace Railway station. It has changed a lot since 2002, which when I last took some snaps of it. That was before London Overground took over the place, and brought many semi-derelict  parts back into use, and built a brand new platform where there was just a large area of nothing for 20 - 30 years.

Lightscribe labelling
Lightscribe and ribbon printer labels

  Some of the DVDs I have made recently, and their labelling. The first three are Lightscribe labelled disks. It is good and neat, but only monochrome. It can also print a few shades of grey for simple pictures. The last disk was printed using the TDK ribbon "dye sublimation" printer. It is limited to two strips of writing or simple graphs on the top and bottom of the disk.  The writing at the top uses about all the available space. It is a very limited system, and it is quite fussy about the disk surface, but at least they don't have to be special disks like those used for the Lightscribe system.
Sunday 14th April 2019
08:31 BST
  I don't remember much blue sky yesterday, but it was sunnier than I expected it to be. I can't recall if it was at 3pm when the forecast said it might rain, but there was some rain yesterday afternoon. I think there were a couple of light showers - either that or it was one very long, but mostly very light shower which was sometime slightly heavy. It was certainly rather cool yesterday, and I have my doubts that the temperature hit the forecast 9° C for very long.
another disappointing day

  The forecast has been revised since the screenshot above was taken. The temperature profile remains the same, but now it is thought that maybe there might be sunny intervals all day - except this morning. This morning definitely started off close to freezing, but there have been some sunny intervals, although only hazy sunshine. As I write this the sun is shining rather feebly through the thin cloud.....and before I can even finish the sentence it is now full power sunshine ! This is all very strange. 9am is nearly upon us, and that is when the big change in the forecast is supposed to happen. In the latest revision drizzle of forecast for 9am. The afternoon high may only be 9° C today, but for once it may not matter. It seems that every day for the next week we will be adding a degree or two to the maximum temperature.  It is even possible that the temperature may exceed 20° C by next Friday ! Meanwhile, tomorrow may be quite sunny with an afternoon high of 12°C.

  I felt very rough yesterday morning. It wasn't just one thing, but many, and it was made worse by boredom or depression. The principle embuggerance was my continuing cough. There seemed to be a continued need to clear my throat, or airways of mucus. The rest of it was a collection of aches and pains, and a feeling of fatigue. It is possible that a lot of it was all in the mind. Maybe the mind multiplied many small things together, threw in a bit of boredom, and came out with an answer that was to think I felt much worse than I might have been. There was some suggestion of this later in the day.

  The one good thing was that after my rather explosive experience the evening before, my guts had almost returned to normal yesterday. I did pass some awful smelling farts later in the afternoon, but a visit to the toilet in the evening (almost 24 hours after my explosive visit) was completely normal. If there was any legacy to that stomach upset it was that my appetite was a bit odd. I was in some sort of no mans land between wanting to eat and not wanting to eat.

  As I mentioned yesterday morning, I had reheated chips for breakfast, but after that I did not think of eating until lunch time, and even then I didn't seem desperate for food. If anything it was more a desire to finish off the rest of the previous night's takeaway before it went off. For my lunch I had three pieces of fried chicken that I reheated in my mini oven/grill. I left them in there a long time, slightly too long maybe. They were very crunchy when I took them out of the oven, and one piece of chicken was just starting to scorch.

  I don't think I enjoyed them as much as I hoped, but I think that was just the way I was feeling. My dinner was the other three pieces of chicken from the takeaway. I reduced the reheating time for the latter pieces of chicken. It made them no better and no worse. They were nice, but not exciting. I'll admit that a little later I also ate a packet of mixed vegetable crisps, but that was all I ate yesterday. It was probably more than it seemed - it seemed like I had eaten very little for some blinkered reason.

  I spent yesterday morning mostly on my bed with the heating turned up. Some of the time I read, and some of the time I managed to snooze. While relaxed, not having to breathe much, and some distractions from being conscious of my breathing, I didn't cough much at all, but it was very boring. It was probably after getting up to reheat my lunch, and during the waiting for it to reheat, that I started to become active. It did mean that my breathing would get a bit noisy when, for instance, going upstairs, and I was frequently clearing my throat - or trying to.

  I can't remember what it was that triggered a chain of events that ended with me going from bored to busy. It was all to do with labelling home made DVD disks. I had already made a couple of DVDs of videos that I am sure I have shown here in the past. That all started some weeks back when Jodie asked if it was possible to put the two old bits of video I have of New England playing in 1992 onto a DVD so she could show them to a friend who apparently was interested in them. I had also made a very short, three song, DVD of the video I had shot at the Kayak gig a week or so ago.

  Both played OK, although it took two attempts to get the Kayak disc to my liking, but I thought I could do better than just scrawl on them with a felt tip pen. A simple solution was to use Lightscribe. Special discs are laser written by a special CD/DVD burner. I dug out a portable drive with Lightscribe capabilities, but then had to install the software to use it. It wouldn't install on my Linux PC because there is no 64 bit versions of the software available. There is a way around this, but even then I recall the software to be tricky to get going first time. The simple solution was to boot my laptop into Windows XP (which I had almost forgotten was installed on it), and install the Windows software.

  A fair bit of time passed before I started to write the label on the first DVD. The only trouble was that I have very few Lightscribe blank disks available. To make matter worse I found that one disk I had labelled before burning the video on it turned out not to be blank, but had a backup of some files from my old work PC on it. At the same time as doing this I was also compiling another DVD of more of the video I had shot at gigs. Some of the earlier stuff was not that good. As I get more practice in I am getting better at it now.

  With the last Lightscribe disk used I had one other way of labelling some disks, and that was to dig out an old dusty TDK disk labeller. It is a dye-sublimation printer that uses something like a typewriter ribbon to write an approx half in strip across the disk. It is not very good, but on a suitable disk it can look a damn sight neater than a felt tip pen. The only trouble was that it was dead when I tried it. I quickly established the power supply was dead. Digging out another 19V 1A supply was not easy - in fact it was impossible, but I did find a 21V supply which actually gave 25V off load, that seemed to power it OK.

  The next step was to re-aquaint myself with the sort of disks it likes printing on. I have a pack of white top "printable" disks, but they are designed for inkjet or laser printing, and produce a very poor image from the TDK printer. I also have some blank Sony disks that have a glossy white finish, but do have some printing on them already. They took an image nice and cleanly provided you avoid the pre-printed bits.

  Another distraction early yesterday evening was to seek out some more Lightscribe disks. I am sure I could have found them cheaper, but I found some on Amazon. They were not very cheap at all, and were only available in small quantities. While looking for the disks I was lead to consider printers that could print directly onto CDs and DVDs. I found one that seemed relatively cheap. It was described as "old model", but it seemed pretty sophisticated to me. Looking around at printers in general, they all now seem to feature WiFi so you can print directly off a mobile phone. I can see that could be useful to others, but I prefer not to pay a fair bit extra for something that I will very rarely need to use - if indeed I ever need to do it.

  The really peculiar thing is that while only requesting "standard delivery" I got an email through from Amazon just a couple of hours later to say it had been dispatched at 9pm last night. There was an estimate it would be delivered next Saturday. 18 minutes later I got an email from the company selling the printer saying it would be delivered TODAY between 10am and 1pm ! It all seems highly improbable unless the shop selling it is just around the corner, and the shopkeeper is going to deliver it on his way to church, or dinner with the inlaws or something. I wait with baited breath.

  I think I was in bed reading by 10pm last night, and somehow managed to get to sleep as early as 10.30pm. On the whole I slept well for about 3 hours, and then maybe 2 hours. At the end of the third period of sleep I woke up coughing, and could not get back to sleep for more coughing. There was a little tickle in my throat I just could not get rid of. It wasn't so bad when upright, and so I got up.

  Several hours have passed since then, and I am still trying to work out how I feel. I am only very intermittently having to clear my throat while sitting here typing, and on the whole it doesn't not bother me. My chest is not actually hurting, but of provoked it is a bit sore. My legs feel a bit creaky, but I suspect they would work fine of called on to walk me anywhere (which they might later on). The two numbest fingers on my left hand, a feature that started with nerve damage during my operation on 2013, seem to be a bit tingly this morning. That is usually a sign that I slept in a sub-optimal position, and compressed the damaged nerve (probably in my elbow). I am getting some (presumed) tendon pain in my right forearm. Today may not be a good day to squeeze a bottle of bleach - it stresses the tendons that are tender !

  My plans for today are now very simple. The time for the possible delivery of my new printer is approaching fast, and that limits to keeping an eye on the front door. I've left it too long to have a shower now, but I can still wipe a wet flannel over me. This afternoon, after 1pm I can go to the corner shop for a bottle of pop, and possibly go to Poundland to see of they still have some CD/DVD holders/sleeves to put my freshly recorded disk in (If I really wanted to make them look posh I could use proper DVD library cases, and print a proper paper label for those, but that is probably going over the top). I am pretty certain I have never had any intention of going out tonight because nothing is on tonight, and so apart from a big blank this evening, that is my day mapped out.
Saturday 13th April 2019
09:35 BST
  Apart from a few sunny spells of mainly hazy sunshine in the morning it was a cold and dull day. The afternoon high was just 9° C, although it could have been cooler than that - it did feel that way from time to time.
another with nothing to look forward to

  The forecast makes it look as if we can look forward to seeing a bit of sunshine today, but it may not be better than a few hazy sunny spells now and then. The latest revision does say there could be an hour of sunshine at 10am. That is not far away, and when I look at the sky I just see clouds, and so I find that the idea of sunshine seems unlikely. Another change to the forecast that is easy to overlook is that it now says there is a 15% chance of rain at 10am, and a 36% chance at 11am. The now changed forecast of rain at 3pm, as shown above, has now disappeared, but while there it only showed a 28% chance of rain. It makes me think that a 36% chance at 11am could well mean it is going to be wet. At the moment the road looks dry, but earlier on it looked like there were some drying out spots of rain on the garden path. To sum up, with an all to brief afternoon high of just 9° C, today is probably going to be a pretty crappy day. Tomorrow could start off cold enough for a frost, but with currently no rain forecast, a possible few sunny spells, and a top temperature of 10° C, tomorrow, if it happens that way, could be a nicer day than today.

  I didn't feel very good yesterday, and in consequence I did very little. On the plus side I was hardly coughing at all for a lot of the time, but on the minus side my chest was aching, as were a few other bits and pieces. Most strange was an occasional feeling of nausea. The latter wasn't a strong feeling, and neither was a sort vague discomfort in the gut area. It wasn't all that long ago that I think I mentioned feeling something similar. That never resolved to anything, but yesterday it did !

  I spent a fair time just laying on my bed reading or snoozing, but early in the afternoon I did nip out to the corner shop for a couple of bottles of pop. I didn't bother wearing a coat, but for such a short walk it didn't feel that cold. It did feel a bit cold though, and so I didn't hang around. It seemed that my legs wanted to walk faster than the rest of my body could keep up with. Once I got back indoors I started to cough for 10 minutes or so.

  While I was in the corner shop I faced a small dilemma. I was not feeling happy, and the idea of buying something nice, maybe even the exceedingly rare (once every 5 years ?) treat of a Mars Bar seemed like a good idea, but the reality was that I didn't fancy eating anything like that. Even my lunch was quite sparse. It was a couple of nectarines that had been sitting in the kitchen for a week, and were finally ripe, plus a couple of plums with a small chunk of cheese on the side. It didn't seem much to me, but it felt very filling - which was strange.

  I really wanted to go out last night to see a rare London appearance of The Flame Pilots playing in The Birds Nest (Deptford), but as the time approached I really didn't feel like it. I seemed to be drained of energy, starting to cough a lot more, and feeling a bit achey - plus that nagging vague feeling of undefined discomfort in my gut area. I had to make the decision that I would stay in, and I'm rather glad I did !

  As some sort of compensation for not going out I thought I would have a takeaway, and something I had read, or seen earlier put me on the path to fancying fish and chips. Provided you pad out the order to hit the minimum charge for delivery, it is easy to get fish and chips delivered. I ordered cod and a small portion of chips. To pad the order out I also ordered a disgustingly unhealthy sausage in batter, and some fried chicken. It arrive much sooner than expected - which was very nice.

  The fish was very nice, but if I had any complaint to make it would be that a small portion of chips is still a very big portion ! I only ate half of them last night. It was a very tasty meal, and despite the ongoing feeling in my gut, it slid down a treat ! It was maybe half an hour after eating that the truth about my gut discomfort was revealed. The evidence pointed to the Sainsbury's chicken korma curry, that I mentioned tasted strange, was off, or contaminated. The evidence, or at least the result of eating that curry 24 hours earlier, came in one mighty explosion. The twisted saying, "the world fell out of my bottom" could not have been more appropriate.

  The very peculiar thing was that it was just one huge isolated event. Normally I would have expected some aftershocks. During the rest of the evening the discomfort in my gut area faded away, as did any feelings of nausea. I can't say I was actually feeling good when I went to bed - I wasn't. I was feeling more fatigued than tired, and it should have been wonderful to lay down, but it wasn't. As soon as I lay down I started to cough more. Prior to that I was having the occasional cough, and sometimes I would cough up some mucus. Once in bed it got worse by a factor of ten !

  I guess I was tired enough that I did manage to get to sleep eventually. I lost track of time, but I think I may have fallen asleep before 11pm, and I slept for maybe 2 hours. Once I woke up I just couldn't get back to sleep for a couple of hours. At 2am this morning I poured myself a large glass of whisky, and it was probably that that got me back to sleep again. Subsequent times when I woke up I seemed to be coughing far less, or even hardly at all, but maybe I had been coughing in my sleep because my chest was aching. I mentioned the other day that I thought I was going to have a flare up of costochondtritis because my chest had started clicking and popping. I was right, and this morning my chest is definitely playing up.

  A couple of Ibuprofen tablets have calmed my chest down, but I still feel tired and listless. Some of the latter may be the result of the chest infection I thought I had developed. Until I went out in the cold night air on Thursday I thought that was clearing up nicely. Instead it just seems to be on a gentle simmer now. I think the rest of my body feel mostly OK - just the now usual creakiness. One thing I am a little concerned about is how I feel after eating breakfast.

  Breakfast was the other half of the small portion of chips I had last night. I tried heating them up in my mini oven/grill and it was a far better idea than trying to use the microwave. They were not as good as freshly cooked chips, but not bad. Unfortunately I am now getting a hint of indigestion. Maybe I am just not used to a greasy breakfast like I used to be. Hopefully it hasn't, or won't trigger any bacterial action left over from the bad chicken korma....although I am wondering if that was the root cause now for some reason.

  Today I don't have to do much, and I may well do less. I can foresee a quick visit to the shops to stretch my legs, although there is nothing I need with any urgency. The big question is how I will feel tonight.  I would very much like to see Chain playing in The Chatterton Arms, and I hope I will feel up to it tonight !
Friday 12th April 2019
09:19 BST
  Yesterday's forecast persisted in saying it would be cloudy yesterday. I suppose that was mostly true if you include hours when the cloud was just very thin and patchy. The reality was that yesterday was far sunnier than the forecast said it would be. By 4pm, when the forecast said the first sunny periods should start, the sky was almost clear and blue, and it stayed that way until sunset. Unfortunately all that extra sunshine could not cope with a rather cool breeze coming in from the east. The afternoon high may have been the forecast 11° C, but it felt quite a bit cooler when the wond was blowing.
another grey day....maybe

  The latest revision to today's forecast has not changed anything since the earlier one in the screenshot above. So far it has proved to be about right. The sky is rather cloudy, but with a few gaps here and there that have let in some hazy sunshine now and then. If the forecast is correct we will soon lose those, and the rest of the day is going to be rather dull and grey. It is also going to be a rather cool day. The predicted temperature of just 3° C at 7am was about right, and I expect the prediction of just 9° C this afternoon will correct too. The wind is still coming from the east, and so that will make it feel cooler still. At least it will be dry all day. Tomorrow will have a very similar range of temperature, but some sunny intervals are predicted, although there may be a splash of rain at 3pm.

  I expected to do a lot of resting before going out late yesterday afternoon, but I don't think I did. It is difficult to think where all the time went yesterday. About the only significant thing I seemed to do only took about 5 minutes to do. It was to trundle the brown wheelie bin through the house, and park it in the back garden ready for I next do some "gardening". For some unknown reason it had not been emptied the previous week, but it was empty, and ready to be filled again yesterday morning. I am unsure when I'll be filling it, but I very much doubt it will be today.

  One thing I did do yesterday was to limit what I ate before going out. I wasn't feeling all that good yesterday, and I didn't want to feel sluggish when I walked to the station. I ate little more than a light lunch. I have to confess that while the 4 rice cakes I had were the start of a very light meal, the pepperoni and mozzarella cheese (conveniently pre-sliced to about the right size for the rice cakes) on each rice cake did make it rather less light. The basic principle did work though, and I did not feel sluggish walking to the station. Instead I had another reason to make it a less than pleasant walk.

  I think it was yesterday morning that I said I thought I had probably got a chest infection. During the day it was at most a minor inconvenience, but it did make breathing a bit harder as I walked to the station. It was all a bit peculiar... I allowed myself a bit of extra time to walk to the station, and I did think I was walking slower to avoid taxing my breathing. That worked in so much as I wasn't short of breath when I arrived on the platform, but I was a bit disappointed that the biggest effect was that I had a longer than usual wait for the train. I've experienced this many times where what I think is a slow walk is hardly any different to walking as fast as I can. Back in the day when I was still at work it was about a 10 minute walk from the station to work. If I was running a little late I could shave that time down to 9 and 3/4 minutes, and if I wanted to take a slow walk, maybe to enjoy some early morning sunshine, it would take 10 and 1/2 minutes !
it was a bit windy while waiting for the
                    train home
  When I got to the pub, having travelled in lovely sunshine all the way, I found that I was the first one there. I also found that there were not many beers to choose from. Instead of the usual 5 or 6 there were just three. One I knew I didn't like, and I had a feeling that I had not enjoyed one of the other in the past. That just left Trumans "Runner", and I had confidence it would be OK - and that is all it was. It was one of those beers that is neither nasty or nice. Maybe if it was a little less hoppy, and so I tiny bit less bitter, it could be a really nice beer. As it is, it is merely neutral. I had three pints of it before I left to go home.

  It is not a rare thing for me to be first to arrive at the pub, but it is very rare for Jodie to be second to arrive. She was on her way to the airport for another of her trips to Finland for some gig or another.  Second to last to arrive was Chris. He is usually one of the first to arrive.

  As I said, I just had three pints last night, and that felt about right. I left in time to catch the 6.45pm train home. I really have no idea what tome the others left, but I would guess it was at least an hour after that, and maybe more. I was more than happy to leave when I did so I could go out into the last of the sunshine. There would still be well over an hour of daylight then, but it wouldn't be long before the sun was near the horizon, and getting a bit wishy washy.

  As can be seen in the photo above, the wind had picked up a fair bit when I left the pub, and it was starting to feel a bit chilly. However, the golden glow of the sun as it was going down, and the wind did make for an interesting "selfie" !
the pub against a
                      background of blue sky
  With less chilly wind, and the temperature 10 degrees higher, it might have been a wonderful evening.
low sun - long shadow
 The low sun was casting long shadows as I waited for my train home. It should have been the end of a great drinking session, but it was spoiled by my presumed chest infection. Leaving the pub when I did was pretty typical, but there was another reason which made it a good time. I was starting to cough more and more. I thought it would be good to get out into the air. It was to the extent that I didn't have to worry about coughing over everybody's drinks, but it didn't stop me coughing. The cold air just made it worse.

  When I arrived back at Catford I was not looking forward to the walk back to home. Fortunately my fears were rather exaggerated, but not unfounded. It was not pleasant trying to walk fast while coughing. One of my plans was that I would be distracted from buying a takeaway on the way home by the knowledge that I had a couple of curry ready meals waiting to be zapped in the microwave once taken out of the fridge.

  One this occasion it didn't quite work like that, and I did get a takeaway curry on the way home. It wasn't just any old curry though. It only takes me out of my way by about 40ft to go into the new Sainsbury's Local store by Catford station, and I went in there originally to buy a few of their lovely ready prepared salads. While in there I got curious as to what a Sainsbury's curry ready meal would be like, and so I bought two in there, as well as some salads.

  I got home as fast as I could, and I guess it was not a lot slower than my usual fastest, but I was feeling quite wheezy as I got in. The first thing I did was to put the Sainsbury's Prawn Mekhani Curry in the microwave, and then I changed out of my outside clothes. Six and a half minutes later my curry was ready. After taking it out of the microwave I put the other, a chicken korma, into the microwave to get that cooked while I ate the first one. (They were both very small portions).

  The first one was really delicious, and I thought that I had discovered a previously untapped source of delight. Being quite small portions they were quite cheap too - another point in their favour. It was all too good to be true, and of course it was. The second curry, the chicken korma was not nice. It seemed rather dry tasting. I am not so sure that it wasn't made with a bad coconut. It wasn't actually unpleasant, but close to it. I think I shall be very wary of Sainsbury's curries in future !

  The hot food may have provide a brief respite from my cough, or maybe it just distracted me from the main reason from it. Less than an hour later, when I went to bed, there was nothing to distract me, and when laying down the gurglings, and ticklings from mucus trapped in my windpipe was really annoying. It only interfered with my breathing a miniscule amount, but it was so bloody distracting because the urge to cough it out was overwhelming. It took a long tome before I managed to fall asleep.

  Once I did get to sleep I managed to get some fairly long periods of sleep, but every time I woke up it was hard to get back to sleep again. The other thing that was bothering me was that my chest was clicking and popping a lot as I moved around, and even when coughing if I was in some positions. Although it hasn't started another Costochondritis flare up yet, it does seem like it could be the precursor to one.

  I don't feel all the great this morning. I may not be coughing as much as I was last night, but I am still coughing. I feel sort of generically ill - no special symptom (except the cough) but sort of ill feeling - that feeling that makes you want to go to bed and fantasise about sleeping for the next couple of days, and waking up feeling weak but wonderful. Unfortunately this is real life !

  One thing I am pretty sure  won't be doing today is going out into the garden to hack and cut and saw enough stuff to fill the wheelie bin. Maybe I might have recklessly tried it to see what happens if it weren't for the fact that I really want to to get out to a gig tonight. The Flame Pilots, who are pretty good, but I also know Mark who plays lead guitar, are making another rare appearance in London. They are all based on the Kent coast, and usually play down that way. They are playing in The Birds Nest in Deptford. It is just one simple bus ride to get there, and the pub itself is quite good in a rock music venue sort of way. The last time I went there I don't think I felt that wonderful, but I still enjoyed myself. At least it should be dry this time - last time it was pissing down with rain all evening !
Thursday 11th April 2019
09:12 BST
  Yesterday had about the same temperature range as the day before, but it didn't feel anywhere near as cold because of one magic ingredient - sunshine ! The sunshine didn't quite follow the forecast. When the forecast said sunny intervals it was actually sunny, and when it was supposed to be sunny there were only sunny interval ! On reflection, that can't be completely true because during the afternoon there was sufficient sunshine to warm my south facing bedroom up. For an hour or two I even had the window open, and it still seemed nice and warm. Needless to say, it was a perfectly dry day. The highest temperature probably was the forecast 11° C.
light cloud means sunshine even if none is

  Today forecast correctly shows that there is very light cloud this morning, but neglects to mention a consequence of very light cloud - sunshine ! As I write this it is, and has been for maybe more than the last hour, sunny ! Sometimes it is only hazy sunshine, and I guess from time to time the sun may completely disappear when the cloud thickens a bit. For now it is nice compensation for a very chilly morning. The forecast reckoned 4° C at 8am, and in the permanent shade outside my back door, it may have been only 3° C. It seems the temperature will climb to about the same as yesterday (and the day before) and reach no more than 11° C. What it actually feels like will depend on whether it is sunny or dull. The forecast predicts a change from being dull to sunny periods at 4pm, but unless the cloud has thickened a lot before then, it could be sunny like it is right now - when it is not supposed to be. Update: Someone has obviously looked out the window, and changed the forecast to sunny intervals all day today ! It looks as if it is going to be another very chilly night, and tomorrow will start very chilly, but there may be some sunny periods in the morning. The current prediction is that it will be a dull afternoon with the rather disappointing temperature of an almost wintry 9° C !

  Yesterday was all arse about face. There was sunshine when there should have been just sunny periods, and vice versa. It was also a day when my cough, and presumed chest infection was much more active, and yet I felt a lot better !  I definitely felt fine about the idea of another, and maybe unnecessary visit to Aldi. The principle reason for yet another shopping trip was to buy more booze. It meant carrying home 2 x 2.25 litre bottles of Diet Coke, 4 x 450ml cans of Guinness, and 6 x 330ml cans of Innis & Gunn session IPA. It was not a light load !

  It felt very chilly outside my back door yesterday, but it was warm in the sunshine outside my (south facing) front door. I felt perfectly fine to walk to Aldi without a coat - particularly when walking on the sunny side of the road, but even when I crossed the road into the shade it still felt comfortable. With the load I was carrying on my way home I was starting to feel very warm. One peculiarity was a bit of neck ache on the way home. It wasn't bad, although it did seem to heading that way before I got home and put the shopping down.

  There was one overall peculiarity of the whole shopping trip, but also to a lesser degree for a lot of the day, and that was, as I have briefly mentioned already, how it felt like I had much more energy yesterday, and how my aches and pains were generally quite low level. At the same time my chest was definitely a lot worse. I may not have been prone to extended periods of coughing, but it did seem that sometimes my cough was coming out more like a dog bark as I coughed up a load of mucus.

  It was a sort of indication of how the rest of me was feeling fairly good that I spent as much as a couple of hours doing stuff downstairs yesterday afternoon. I spent a little time preparing my evening meal. It was another lamb stew using the second of the neck end (?) marinated lamp chop in the pack I had bought from Aldi a few days previously. On this occasion I used one of my super sharp new knives to cut up the meat into small chunks before cooking it with assorted vegetables in a tomato purée enhanced gravy.

  With my cooker done for the time being I turned my attention to a large box of "stuff" that is too heavy to move as it is, but needs to be moved before I can move the chest of draws (as pictured yesterday) into the alcove by the chimney breast. I had completely forgotten what was in that box - except for some additions from one of the mice that had taken refuge in the back room when it escaped from my old cat !  I thought that a lot of the weight was ancient tools from pre-war telephone exchanges that I had sort of inherited when I became the last man working in a particular telephone exchange when it was converted to be a digital exchange.

  I think that there are some of those old tools in the  bottom of the box, but much of the top filling of the box was a present from my brother from the days before the factory hew was a manager in, closed down, and he was made redundant. That must have been 20 years or more years ago now. The factory made cables and ready made leads, and he had accumulated many samples, experiments, and what I can only guess as "end of the reel" oddments. There are, or were many long lengths of bright orange mains cables in there - the type that was nice to use for extension cables.

  It took quite a while to untangle some of those cables, roll them up, and put them in plastic bags to stop them becoming entangled again. I never realised how much useful cable there was, but I handle it all carefully while wearing rubber gloves to make sure it wasn't contaminated. As far as I could see, most of the box was saved by a large booklet on top of the cables and stuff. I had removed, and disposed of that many weeks ago. It had a layer of mouse shits on it, and plenty of signs that it had been very wet for some time in the past (but was bone dry by the time I found it, and disposed of it).

  I got bored, and was feeling a bit chilly before I had gone through more than the top quarter of the box. There is still plenty of stuff to sort out another time, but at least I made a good start yesterday. After giving up I went up to my room which was still nice and warm from the sunshine. The sun had moved around the sky and wasn't lighting up he room so much, and so it was time to close the window before the room started to cool off.  I had a lay down and read for a while, and I think I had a late afternoon nap - but for some reason I doubt my memory of that. Maybe I just wanted a nap, but it didn't happen, or it was only a very short nap, or something...

  It wasn't long before it was time to eat and to watch a bit of TV. There were two programmes featuring full blown fantasy. One was Star Trek, and the other was the 6 O'clock news on BBC1. On the whole, Star Trek was the more believable. As I watched I ate my lamb stew, and it was rather delicious again. I say again because I had lamb stew the night before, but last night was a different version, and had different vegetables in it - plus I had cut up the meat before cooking it. That seemed to make the meat a bit more tender.

  Once I had finished watch TV (at the end of Star Trek - Deep Space Nine) at 8pm I did something I knew was possibly silly, but still enjoyable. I phoned Sue to see how she had got on at a hospital visit she had started in the morning. She was having an iron infusion to help raise her haemoglobin count. It seems she was diagnosed with what roughly translates as anaemia recently. Like all calls to Sue it was long and rambling, and I didn't manage to say goodbye until 2.30am this morning !

  As you might imagine, I do feel like I could have had an extra 3 or 4 hours sleep last night, but until I wrote those words, and had a huge yawn in the middle  of writing them, I didn't actually feel that bad. The rest of me feels moderately OK. When I think back over the last hour or two, I haven't even been coughing that much - although that is far from not at all. Now I have thought about sleep I can't stop yawning, but otherwise I can't seem to feel any immediate impediments to doing anything. Whether I can or not will be revealed whenever, and if ever I actually try to do something more taxing than yawning !

  My plans for today are very simple. A little before 4pm I should be making my way to the station to go for my regular (except when ill) late Thursday afternoon drink. Before than I want to have a light lunch to give something for the beer to sit on, and I reckon I could fit in a snooze or two before I go out. A nice simple, but probably completely unproductive day! When I come home from the pub I have a couple of curry ready meals to choose from. They should distract me from the fried chicken shop even if I go wild and have 4 pints tonight !

  I was hoping I might finish of some more video of my resident fox in action over the last few nights, but it seems the fox has judged itself fit, and has left home. My trail camera hasn't caught sight of it was a few nights now. The last video I had of it showed it was still limping, but it had been able to use to put it's full weight on the injured leg/paw for weeks now, and the ease that it could jump the fence definitely made it seem as agile as any other fox. I once thought it might be a vixen, but now I feel it is a dog fox, and with the mating season in full swing it has gone mobile to see how it's luck holds out. Maybe a vixen will use the earth under next doors garden, but accessed from my garden, if she is pregnant, but for now it seems "fox watch is over". Instead of a video, here's a very arty photograph I took on Wandsworth Common in 2001.
view across a lake near
Wednesday 10th April 2019
09:21 BST
  As far as I was concerned it was a dull, damp, cold, and miserable day yesterday, and apart the bit about it being cold, that is pretty much how the day was forecast to be. The forecast said it should have been 12° C in the afternoon, but the cold air blowing in my bathroom window felt more like it was about 4° C ! For reasons I'll come to soon, I don't think I was a reliable witness yesterday.
not warm, but a nice change - sunshine !!!

  I don't need the weather forecast to tell me that it sunshine streaming through my bedroom windows. What's more is that it is sunshine, and not a sunny interval, unless sunny interval are allowed to last for 2 whole hours. The official forecast for sunshine (and not sunny intervals/periods) starts at 10am, and continues right through to sunset. It is all rather splendid, or would be if the afternoon high was going to be any better than 11° C. The sun should feel warm behind glass, and it might feel warm when in sunshine outside, but walking on the wrong side of the road in shadow is still going to feel very chilly. Tomorrow will see a very similar range of temperature, but no sunshine is forecast, none at all, although it should be dry again.

  Yesterday was a very complicated day (where "complicated" could translate into many things - mostly negative). During the morning I felt reasonably OK. I wasn't doing any serial coughing, and just had to clear my throat now and then. My nose was dry, and not dripping, and my legs seemed to feel fine. My arms did feel a little less than perfect, and in some way rather strange. Once again, or maybe not again but a continuation of what I thought was a tendon problem was mildly flaring up. The pain this causes usually seems to random to say what it is, but occasionally it can be attributed to a specific action.

  One such action is squeezing a stiff bleach bottle when cleaning the toilet. It is only partly my hand that hurts, but there is more pain in the tendons up near my elbow. I have no idea what causes it, but it has been waxing and waning for well over a week now. I would not be surprised if it didn't have a viral origin. Yesterday morning it, or something very similar, manifested itself in way that could only be described as my arms feeling heavy. It was not a good time to mount a socket on the wall, and terminate ethernet cables on two sockets. By the time I had done the last termination, and screwed the front plate on my arms were killing me.
work in progress
  I will do my best to describe what I was doing, and what I hope to do/achieve by referencing these two side by side pictures.  In the left hand picture can be seen the bright white socket that I fitted yesterday morning. It is just to the right of the 4 way power strip with the orange mains wire.  To put the socket up I had to reach over the shelf that seems to sag far less in real life that this picture seems to show ! Also shown in the left hand picture is a 24 port Ethernet hub that is currently not in use because it's cooling fans have dry bearings that shriek like a host of banshees.  On top of that Ethernet hub is the old Toshiba laptop that is now doing duty as my web server.

  The right hand picture mostly shows a dusty mess, but it is the chest of drawers that is of most significance. I'm now just about ready to move it into the corner under the shelf in the left hand picture. In theory it will make much more space in the back room, and be another step towards restoring it as a dining room...or at least something that isn't just a junk room ! In theory I could move that chest of drawers today, but I'll have to see how I feel later.

  I spent a fair time downstairs, mostly in the back room and kitchen, yesterday morning. There is no heating on down there, and I don't know if that was ultimately the cause of me feeling pretty crappy in the afternoon. It wasn't particularly cold down there - maybe 18° C - but maybe most of what I was doing was such lightweight work that it didn't really warm me up. By the time I finished all I intended to do, but not all I might have done, I felt quite tired. I retired to my nice warm bedroom, and ever warm PC.

  I can't quite remember the sequence of events, but it was possibly after going up and down the stairs a couple of times, one of which was to rummage in the back of the freezer for a tub of ice cream, that I suddenly burst into sweat. It was a sort of hot and cold sweat. My face felt very hot, but my bare back seemed to be icy cold. The tub of ice cream was nothing to do with feeling hot or cold. It was just that I was feeling low, and wanted something wonderful to distract me. A little later in the afternoon I seemed to feel neither hot or cold, but I did feel very weary.

 It seemed like time to lay on my bed and read for a while. After a couple of pages of the magazine I fell asleep, and woke up a bit later feeling shivery. It was at this point that I should have measure my own temperature because I probably had a fever. I felt so crappy that there was only one thing to do, and that was to break out the Guinness ! It was just past 5pm at that point, and so not too early for some booze. At 6pm I had a nice hot dinner.

  Some of the time I had spent in the cold downstairs, earlier in the day, was to prepare last night's dinner. It was a lamb based stew similar to the beef stew I had the previous evening. Unlike the beef stew I had made a point about not using all the meat, and so make a rather huge blowout dinner. I was a bit shocked at how small the lamb chop ended up after cooking. I have to add that it was not one of the tiny little lamb chops, but when uncooked, a rather large looking lump of meat. It may well have been artificially enlarged by being injected with water, flavourings, and chemicals that was supposed make it look like it had been marinated in a sort of mint sauce.

  Despite there being a lot less meat than I might have desired, it was still a very nice stew, and initially quite filling because of all the gravy I ate with it - although that is the point of a stew !  I relaxed after that by watching some TV, and drinking Guinness. Eventually I decided to go to sleep. I was not sure how well that would work. Although I had not been coughing that much during the day, it was getting more frequent later in the day, and I was coughing up more mucus. Sometime that mucus left a fleeting odd taste. I have strong suspicions that I have a chest infection. It could explain a lot.

  To my surprise I slept reasonably well last night. I can't recall having to do any more than clear my throat once on a couple of times where I got up to pee. Although nearly all details of my dreams have long since evaporated, what I do remember seems to be both unexciting and unthreatening - probably the sort of dreams that never leave any lasting memories. Now I am awake, and have been for a good few hours, I should be able to work out how I feel, but I can' least I can't come up with any positive news. I have a few gentle aches, and now and again I am coughing up some (tasteless) mucus. The more I think I might be a bit tired, the more I yawn.  I think I could be quite happy being totally lazy today, and probably doing the right thing to try and finally through off this latest bug (or is it a continuation of the last one ???).

  On the other hand, the idea of not spending a bit of time in today's sunshine would be annoying - that is assuming the sunshine continues. It is about now that the weather is supposed to transitions from sunny intervals to pure sunshine. It seems to be working the other way. For the first time since sunrise the sun has just gone in. This is not right, and I feel I ought to complain to my MP.  Perhaps I'll worry about that later. I've just had a very throaty cough, and this time the taste of the mucus was definitely unpleasant. It all suggests a chest infection. How the hell did I get that ???
Tuesday 9th April 2019
09:30 BST
  It seemed mild but gloomy yesterday. It was certainly mild enough to go to Aldi without a coat, although contrary to the forecast, I thought I felt a few spots of rain on the way back again at approx 2pm.  From time to time it did brighten up a bot, but the clouds never thinned enough to allow even hazy sunshine through. The afternoon high was probably around the forecast 15° C. I think it started raining around 10pm - a good hour before forecast.
more greyness and rain

  The forecast has changed in one small way since I took this screenshot several hours ago. It now seems the rain that started late last night will now continue through to 3pm, and that will delay the temperature reaching the afternoon high of 12° C by an hour. The forecast seems to suggest that as well as rain, there could be some brightness from time to time. There is none at the moment. It is really gloomy out there, although the rain is no more than light drizzle - if indeed it is actually raining at the moment. It is certainly damp outside, but there is nothing to suggest that any rain is actually falling at the moment (maybe I should open a door to check this). With luck it will dry, and a bit less dull this evening - I may want to go out. Tomorrow should be dry and bright with sunny intervals, but the top temperature may be as little as 11° C.

  Like the day before, yesterday was a day of rest, but only a partial day of rest. I was feeling a lot better, but still not perfect. The good thing was that most of the time I was not coughing, but there were still a few occasions when something would catch in my throat to set me off coughing for 5 or 10 minutes. Oddly enough, I did feel I had the potential to do more stuff if I so desired, but my serious lack of sleep the night before seemed to take away any desire to do that much.

  One thing I did do was to go to Aldi. As I mentioned above, it felt mild enough to not wear a coat, and apart from a few minutes of worry when it seemed like it was about to rain on my way home, it was perfectly comfortable. I think some people like wearing coats, and I'll admit having extra pockets can be handy, but generally speaking I prefer to only wear a coat when it is necessary. Perhaps it is a reaction to not being as thin as a rake.

  While in Aldi I partly concentrated on buying ingredients rather than ready made meals. I am not so sure this is always a good idea, and because of my circumstances it can be more expensive, and less healthy. I'll explain why later. I bought a few vegetables, plus some frozen peas, as well as some meat. The meat was some marinated lamb chops, and some diced beef. Together with 4 cans of Guinness and other misc stuff, it was a fair bit to carry home, and I'll confess that I didn't rush home. It was nice to get home to put the load down, although after a third of the way home the stress seemed very constant, and while the stress wasn't desirable, I did ponder the idea that if I had to I could have walked 2 or 3 times the distance if I really had to.

  I had what was supposed to be a light lunch soon after getting home, but like many of these things it consisted of several items that all added up to not really a light lunch ! My intention after lunch was to have an afternoon snooze - the longer the better. I did feel very sleepy, but mostly sleep eluded me. As I would find out later in spadefuls, as soon as I tried to lie down my chest/airways would start to bubble with mucus that seemed almost impossible to cough up. It was not so bad while just laying there reading. The printed word would be enough to distract me from the noises that my breathing was making. Oddly enough, it was not enough distraction to stop me falling asleep, and there was definitely one occasions when the magazine fell on my face as I fell asleep while reading. It was intensely annoying that I could fall asleep like that, and not when I wanted to !

  Several hours before dinner time I started some cookery. It wasn't going to be my first choice, but increasingly I got a bee in my bonnet about making a beef stew. Ideally I would have cooked it in a slow cooker for many hours, but I did it in the microwave by zapping it for 10 minutes several times over the course of a couple of hours. That seemed to work well enough, and it was very nice. The only problem, and it was a big problem, is that it was too big. The grand flaw in my plan was to use all the diced beef in the packet.

  It didn't seem to be that much, but by the time I had added one small potato, a very small onion, a large handful of peas, and about a pint of beef stock (flavoured with some chilli flakes, pepper, and herbs) it turned into one gutbuster of a meal. At maximum I should have only eaten two thirds of it, but I ate the lot. It was very enjoyable as I did so, but it left me feeling very stuffed. Of course a lot of it was the delicious gravy, and if I hadn't drunk/eaten all of that it would have been a far more sensible sized meal.

  By the time I got bored with TV, and went to bed, most of the liquid had drained from my stomach, and I felt comfortable again. I was in bed by 8pm, but it took a long time before I could get to sleep. Prior to laying down I had been feeling as if I was completely well. My nose was dry, and I wasn't coughing (apart from occasionally clearing my throat). As soon as my head hit the pillow it was as if mucus flowed from my lungs, and stuck in sticky little globules along my airways. Maybe that is what actually did happen, but I have no idea if such a thing really can happen even if it felt like it.

  After a lot of coughing, much of it completely unproductive, even when assisted by a few squirts of Salbutamol to open the airways, I managed to fall asleep for a few hours. Every time I woke up I would go through the same sort of thing, but gradually the amount of mucus seemed to diminish, and by about 5am it seemed easy to get back to sleep after, for instance, a trip to the toilet. Although I was sleeping less and less each time, I managed to get in some very light sleep right up to 9am (although I had been awake for over 30 minutes at about 7am to check the weather and email and stuff).

  This morning I am unsure how I feel. Some feeling seem contradictory. For instance I feel I might have a lot of energy, and yet the idea of even more sleep seems strangely compelling even if it is unlikely that I would be able to fall asleep again in the ordinary sense - although I suspect that I could probably lay on my bed to read, and end up dozing off. It would be nice to say that I am now over my head cold, but I am not sure what being over it is actually like ! I had a minute or so coughing a bit earlier, but that seemed to be over once I had shifted a bit of mucus, and when soon out of bed, and yawning a lot, my eyes were watering, and my nose needed many good blows. Those were isolated incidents, and hopefully do not reflect real life.

  I feel I would like some fresh air, but with it being so gloomy, and the threat of rain being ever present, it doesn't seem like a good day to go out for no reason. If I feel reasonably OK, and the rain has stopped as the forecast says it should, I would like to go to Stretchy's Open Mic in Bromley tonight, but that is about the limit of my aspirations for today. I have a strange, and perhaps unsettling idea that I might do some housework today !!!
Monday 8th April 2019
09:56 BST
  I mainly ignored yesterday's weather because I didn't go outside except once, and that was just 30 seconds in my back garden. That would have been in the afternoon sometime, and I do recall that it didn't seem particularly cold out. I think it might have even been the forecast 15° C. The thing that was lacking was any notable amounts of sunshine. I'm not sure I can remember a single time when it wasn't grey. I do remember noting that there was some rain later in the afternoon, but there didn't seem as much as the forecast predicted.
another grey day

  Despite the forecast looking different to yesterday's forecast, I think they tell a very similar story. It is probably going to be another grey day, and there could be a light shower early in the evening. From 11pm there could be a lot more rain. Once again the afternoon could reach 15° C. That would be nice if accompanied by sunshine, but forgettable without. It is more or less 10am as I am writing this. The forecast predicts both rain and shine, and that is almost what is happening. The rain is obviously wet, but the sunshine is just a bright patch of cloud that is sort of sun shaped ! The forecast for tomorrow predicts more rain and some of this almost, but not quite sunshine through the morning, and then just rain for a couple of hours after midday. The afternoon high may only be a disappointing 12° C.

  Yesterday was a day of rest, or to put it another way, I have nothing to show for yesterday apart from a few greasy plates sitting in the sink.  Despite my intention to not do much, I did make my own meals instead of eating ready meals. Lunch was green beans cooked in some chicken stock with some sliced tomatoes, and a dollop of butter. The tomatoes didn't really match the green beans, and I mainly used them because if I left them for much longer they could have become soft and over ripe.

  My dinner was a two part affair because I didn't set out to try and match the cooking times, and I made a stupid mistake that made the mismatch even worse. The two combined halves made for a very large meal ! The first course was a couple of small baked potatoes. I haven't had any baked potatoes for ages, and with cheese on them for extra flavour, they were very nice. I really should have only one because the next course was pork belly strips cooked with a few spices. There were 4 strips, and 2 of them would have been more appropriate with one of the small baked potatoes. Unfortunately I think I just left the pork belly strips cooking with some small random timing set on the timer that I had set to warm the oven up. It was a huge disappointment to go back to the kitchen to find the meat barely cooked, and cold. I gave them another 30 minutes, and after that they were very succulent.

   I spent a fair time just reading yesterday, but I did take time out to check my trail camera (single - I only had one out for the last few nights). It had caught some video of the fox, and a magpie, but nothing unusual or entertaining - plus I had set the camera angle a bit high, and when the fox was in view you couldn't see it's legs. I left the other trail camera out yesterday, and I'm trying another low level shot. Maybe today I'll check and see what it captured last night. If the fox was co-operative by posing nicely as it ate some of the food I put down, I could have some better video. Even the video of the magpie(s) might be more interesting.

  I have to say that TV was very sparse last night. There was nothing that really grabbed my attention, and I ignored it for a while as I scanned some more negatives. That threw up an anomaly. One pack of negatives seemed to be very full. When I inspected it, it was obvious that there were negatives from two different film manufacturers. Even more peculiar was that I hadn't taken the pictures on one set of negatives. I am very sure I know who took the pictures, but it is a complete mystery how they came to be in with my negatives.

  I was later in the evening, when TV was showing nothing that grabbed my attention, when I made what could have been an error of judgement. I phoned Sue knowing full well that I would be on the phone to her for hours. She has had to miss several gigs recently, including Stretchy's Open Mic last night because she is suffering from severe back pain. Speaking to me was a good distraction from her pain, and she was not keen to shorten the call. It wasn't one continuous call because the connection dropped a few times, but I finally said goodbye to her at 5am this morning !

  I have obviously had very little sleep, and so I can't judge how I feel with any accuracy. Yesterday my coughing was very reduced, and in particular in the afternoon it was feeling like I had much of my energy back. I could almost have been tempted not to rest, and do something or another. If it hadn't been raining, I might have even considered doing a bit of garden clearance, although it would only be preparation work because my brown Wheelie bin wasn't emptied on Thursday for some unknown reason.

  During my long chat with Sue I would periodically cough, but mostly it was just like clearing my throat. It was a different matter when after I finished talking, and laid down to sleep. At that time I could feel a burbling in my chest that was of little actual consequence, but deeply annoying, and I couldn't relax without trying to cough it up. Being deeper in my chest it wasn't so easy, but eventually I did manage to shift it, and then get to sleep. It was a pretty rough sort of sleep though, and I may have only slept for an hour before waking up again. I managed to get back to sleep again, and the next time I woke it was gone 9am, and I decided to get up - although maybe not permanently.

  I think my plans for today start with having a good shower, and washing my hair - two things I should have done yesterday, but didn't ! After that I have no definite plans, but whatever they turn out to be, I am pretty sure they will include a lot of reading, and snoozing. I feel tempted to go and get some shopping, but only because I think I fancy something different to eat than what I have in the fridge. Mostly I just want a couple of bottles of pop. The way the day is racing away from me it will soon be time for bed, and tonight I go straight to bed nice and early, and no everlasting phone calls !
Sunday 7th April 2019
08:24 BST
  If we ignore the first couple of hours, it is uncanny how the weather forecast for yesterday turned out to be accurate - that is, of course, the 10am revision of the forecast. It was exactly as forecast - very dull, and not feeling very warm despite it being 11° C. Maybe it was less than 11° C. That figure was a replacement for an earlier revision that said it would be 12° C. Maybe an even later revision, that I didn't check, said it was going to only 10° C ! Anyway, at least it was dry all day.
this doesn't promise any cheer today !

  I originally said today's forecast brings no cheer, but now I write this I have an extremely pathetic hope that there may be a ray of sunshine later this afternoon. It seems hard to believe that could be possible when I look out the window.
A very murky start to
                      the day
 It is not very obvious in this small picture taken at 7am this morning, but the outlines of the trees in the distance are being soften by a light mist. One obvious thing is the colour of the sky - steely grey. It seems most of today will be like this, but from 2pm, according to the latest revision, we will meet that strange symbol that depicts sunshine and rain. The chance of rain is quite high for much of the afternoon, and into early evening, and I guess that rain is inevitable at some time. It would be nice if the rays of sunshine took precedence over the rain, but I fear not. The afternoon high could reach 14° C, and tomorrow it could be even warmer at 16° C. There is a small chance of a shower tomorrow, and a slightly bigger chance of a bit of sunshine, but much of the day will be just dull and overcast.

  For the first half of yesterday was feeling better, worse and the same as first thing in the morning. In other words I had a cold !  If I dig deep I can find one positive thing about this cold, and it is that it hasn't involved a gushing nose. My nose has, and does need a good blow every now and then, more so than when I haven't got a cold, but enough to make keeping a pile of tissues close at hand is a good idea. The main visible malady is the cough I have, and less visible is that bits of me ache - different bits to the usual bits, although often including them as well. One particular hidden pain is from my right knee cap. For some unexplainable reason, it is worse when sitting on a chair, and coughing. How that aggravates me knee is a mystery to me, but it can be painfully real.

  It must have been a little after midday when, after a good hot shower, I decided a test was needed to find out exactly how bad I felt. I definitely needed food, and so a walk to Tesco would be a good stress test. It felt delightfully refreshing to be out in the open air, but it did seem to feel chillier than I was expecting for 11° C - in sunshine, and when I am well, I would have regarded that as t-shirt weather for small trips like going to Tesco. A significant thing is that I hardly coughed while walking there, and while I was in the store. The bad thing is that I felt slightly short of breath when I got there, but only very slightly, and close to being ignorable.

  As per a normal shopping trip to Tesco, or indeed any supermarket, there were one or two things I forgot to get, and a few things I never expected to get. I have a small space in my freezer at the moment, and I was going to buy some frozen vegetables, but I forgot to get any. I did remember to get a couple of ready meals as well as some meat to make my own meals from scratch. As always I had a rummage on the reduced price shelves, and as usual there were some things with mere pennies off that I ignored, and a few thing closer to half price that I didn't.
weird potato salad
  There are some things you know you have to try once, but would never consent to paying full price for them. Any thing from the "Wicked" kitchen from Tesco is a good example. It just sounds so pretentious, but I saw this "Painted" potato salad going for half price, and curiosity got the better of me. Once I got over the shock of the first taste I came to the conclusion that it was actually nice, but was partly edible. The first taste is that of potatoes that have boiled dry, and are starting to burn. It is not exactly an appealing taste, and I can remember throwing away an entire saucepan after a bad accident 20 or more years ago. I cannot recommend that you don't buy this stuff enough.

   One interesting thing...well I think it is sort of interesting even if it was not good, was when I tried to say thank you to the cashier. My lips moved, but no words came out until I discretely cleared my throat. Walking hope seemed like much harder work than usual, and it was a delight to get indoors, into the warm, and to put down my shopping. After having a bit of lunch I contemplated whether I should try and load up on Paracetamol, and go to Greenwich to see Chain playing in The Mitre. The conclusion I reached was that I should stay in the warm, and try to get better.

   There were plenty of things I could do later in the afternoon, and possibly into the evening. Most of them included doing something with the pictures and video taken at the Kayak gig I went to on Friday night. I think I ended up being surprised at how many pictures I had taken that were usable, although generally most were lousy. There were a couple that were taken when I had changed camera settings, and inadvertently turned the inbuilt flash on. There were two pictures like that, and they really do show up how bad some of the other snaps were. Unfortunately their composition was very poor, and not worth having the genuine accidents.
Ton Sherpenzeel
    One of the hardest members of the band to snap was Ton Sherpenzeel. He is the one original member of the band, and has appeared on all 17 albums they have released. He plays keyboards, and was high up at the back, partly hidden by his 4 (or 5 ?) keyboards, and rarely stayed still for long enough to get a decent snap. Selecting black and white was the best was to get something usable.
     With the drummer just about peeping out at the back, these were the front of the band. The lead singer, whose name escapes me, is only a recent member, and his voice was not suited to some of the older stuff which was written for a singer with a much wider range.
lead guitar
    This was one of the pictures taken when I accidently triggered the inbuilt flash. It is far more detailed, but I don't think it is a very good picture.
black and white with flash
  This picture was taken with the camera set to black and white, and also taken with flash. Once again it is sharp and detailed, and yet seems a bit crap.

   When the time came I was glad that I chose not to go out to Chain's gig. I was feeling quite odd on top of the cough. The oddest thing of all is that I opened a can of Guinness and found I didn't like it. It just didn't taste right, and I feel sure it was down to me, and nothing to do with the Guinness itself. By the time I had drunk 3 cans (maybe about a pint and a half) I was starting to think it tasted good, but I was also feeling sort of full, and perhaps a bit bloated. By 9pm I decided I ought to be in bed - even if it was just to read.

  I did read, but not for long before I turned out the light, and went to sleep. I estimate I was asleep about 10pm. Before going to sleep I had drunk the Guinness, and I also took a couple of Paracetamol. Between the two of them I managed to sleep well for 4 hours until I woke at 2am. I went and had a wee, the need for which is what probably woke me up, and then I went back to bed. The marvellous thing about it was that I felt very near normal. I may have cleared my throat once in a very non dramatic way, and I might have given my nose a quick, and probably dry blow, but other wise I just went straight back to bed, and was asleep in minutes.

  It seemed like I was cured ! It is a shame that my brain hadn't informed the rest of my body. 2 hours later, at 4am I woke up convulsed with coughing. As I coughed so my eyes watered, and I was having to blow my nose a lot as well between coughs. I had to have a couple of squirts of Salbutamol to open my airways to make it easier, or indeed possible, to cough up a load of mucus. I also took another couple of Paracetamol. By 5am things had calmed down enough to go back to sleep, but I barely got more than an hour before waking up again.

  I was reluctant to get up at 6am, but I couldn't seem to get back to sleep. At that time I was coughing sporadically, and my throat felt a bit raw. Since then it has settled down a lot. I don't know if it helped or not, although I suspect it might have, when I had a couple of pot noodles. They were not the stupidly expensive cartons of sludge with "big names" on that are sold in supermarkets, and can actually taste not very nice, but the cheap variety sold in discount stores, and are often quite pleasant (and more so with a bit of extra flavour or chilli sauce). The hot steamy gravy/soup is what probably helped most of all, and now my cough has simmered right down. If it wasn't for the way my legs ache when I first stand up I could mistake this for feeling almost good.

  For most of today I am going to stay in the warm being lazy to try and give myself a better chance of getting over a cold that should have, and might have been over by Friday night if I hadn't gone out into the cold night air. I will consider the idea of going out in the cold night air again tonight to Stretchy's Open Mic in Bromley. Part of me says "don't be stupid", but another part says I ought to see if I can push myself a bit harder. We'll see which wins later on.

  To finish with, a bit more Kayak. Some video I recorded on Friday night. This was another old favourite, but sounding a bit different to the original - probably a result of having to play it live, and party because of the restraints of the singers voice. It is another classic Kayak song - "Alibi" the first track on their 1974 album Kayak II.

Saturday 6th April 2019
10:14 BST
  It was almost nice yesterday. It was bright, not too cold, and lots of sunny spells. The main problem was that I didn't feel quite well enough to appreciate it more (although it wasn't until as late as 11pm that I was feeling particularly ill). The afternoon high was 13° C, although there were times when I thought it might have been slightly higher, but I have no evidence of that, and they way I was feeling makes me an unreliable witness.
still bright, but not much sunshine

  The forecast doesn't show any sunshine, and yet I am sure there was some a bit earlier, and even now there is some very weak hazy sunshine, but it is not distinct enough to cast a shadow most of the time. I guess the cloud is not quite as thick as forecast. Although the breeze coming through my bathroom window was very fresh this morning, it was apparently about 8° C earlier. The temperature is now slowly rising towards the predicted high of 12° C this afternoon. flattening out, and the latest prediction is that it will now only reach 11° C, but it could be constant from midday until sunset. After sunset the temperature will slowly fall away until it hits 6 or 7° C. Today should be perfectly dry, but tomorrow could well see some rain, and there could be sunshine too ! The late afternoon temperature, when the rain and sunshine are most likely to happen, will be about 15° C - that's just about warm !

   Yesterday the second most significant thing I did was to cook a packet of fish fingers. They would be my lunch, and almost all I ate until much later in the day, although I did have a few naughty snacks as well. Apart from cooking and eating I did very little. this was intentional. I wasn't feeling that great. My nose was not doing a great deal, and my cough was quite moderate a lot of the time, but I did feel sort of weak and sort of bleeeuuurggg (but not bluuurrrpe !) Basically I was saving myself for the evening and the gig I wanted to go to in equal strength to a gig I didn't want to go to.

  The gig, as I mentioned yesterday, and probably before that, was Kayak playing in The Underworld in Camden. Kayak were a Dutch band that were little known in the UK despite having some wonderful songs. I think someone said they hadn't played in the UK for 42 years !!!! So if I was ever going to see them live it was going to be last night. Of course there is the problem that in the meantime they have released many more albums than the 6, 7 or 8 that I know . In fact they have released 17 albums, and their 17th album is called "Seventeen", and last nights gig was to promote it.

  To my great surprise the ticket said the doors open at 6pm, and with no support band it was going to be an early start and early finish - something I much prefer to gigs that go on past 11pm. I left home to get the 5:18pm train to Charing Cross, and from Charing Cross I got The Northern Line to Camden Town. Going to to Charing Cross was no problem because of the direction of travel into London, but the Northern Line was in full rush hour mode with trains you could barely get on. The blast of icy feeling air rushing down the escalators at Camden Town was a great relief, and coled me down nicely after being cooked on the train.

  I had arranged to meet Jodie in The Black Heart pub. It is just around the corner from The Underworld, but they had an event on of some form, and the place was creaking at the seams with a crush of people. I could barely get in the door, and a quick look showed I would never be able to find her in there. So I walked away, and as I walked away my phone bleeped, and it was a message from Jodie to say she was waiting in The Worlds End Pub (whose cellar is The Underworld).

  A couple of minutes later I had found her, and she was with one person I recognised from 20 - 25 years ago. An old friend called Bernard. It was nice to meet again, but not in The Worlds End. I couldn't believe how noisy it was in there. It was almost as loud as being in the gig later on. We had one drink there (I only had a half) before going down into The Underworld. I have to admit to being very apprehensive about the venue. It had been many, many, many years since I last went in there, and my main memory is of it being hot, sweaty, crowded, dirty, and generally rather unpleasant.

  I was surprised to see it had been completely refurbished, and even the toilets seemed clean and bright ! As for Kayak...It was not an enjoyable start. As I feared, they were playing a lot of stuff I had never heard before, and I was getting impatient until they played one song I didn't expect them too. It is a wonderfully daft sort of song called Mammoth. The studio version is accompanied by a typical Dutch barrel organ sound, but not at the gig, although I am sure Ton Scherpenzeel's synth/keyboards could have done a barrel organ. From that point onwards I began to enjoy it more.

  I guess their first set lasted about 65 - 70 minutes. The second set was of a similar length, and featured many more "classic" songs - much to my relief.  At the end of the second set there was a 5 minute break before a 10 minute encore. The place was not packed, but there were times when the band received some very loud and enthusiastic applause. By about 9.30pm I was out and heading towards the tube station to go home. I only had a little pocket camera with me, and on the whole it took some pretty lousy pictures, but it's video was not too bad. This is Ruthless Queen - an old favourite.

   The song is about being dumped by a girlfriend, and in the heady days of the late 1970s, when we were all young, it was used to soften, or enhance much teenage angst (although I think most of us had left our teenage years many years before then).  I have other videos that I might show soon depending on what other stuff I might have to over fill these pages.

   While I was in The Underworld I was bought two pints of Guinness by Bernard, and they, plus the pint I had bought myself, help keep my throat wet, and although I had a little cough now and then, I generally didn't feel too bad. With the venue maybe only half full the air conditioning wasn't fighting a losing battle, and it was even cool enough in there to leave my coat on and still feel comfortable. It was different after I left. The tube train was half empty, and not sweltering hot, but that wouldn't have been too awful a problem any way.

  What was a problem is that with no Guinness on hand on the way home, my throat dried out, and I was coughing more and more. I could feel my throat getting sore, and I was convinced I would have a very sore throat this morning. I didn't, but I still don't feel good. I think that last night, on the way home, my head cold morphed itself into something more like a chest infection. By the time I was getting ready to bed (after eating my fried chicken and chips dinner), my coughing was often no longer dry. I was coughing up a lot of mucus. Once again it seemed to restrict my airways, and I reluctantly had a couple of squirts of Salbutamol (asthma inhaler) to open the airways so I could cough up even more mucus. 

  It made it hard to get to sleep, and hard to stay asleep. To make matters worse I had two episodes of waking up with my right leg going into cramp. In the end it feels like I only had half the sleep due to me, and my throat still feels bad, although I do seem to be coughing less and less as the morning wears on. It is still too much though. Fortunately there is nothing I must absolutely do today before this evening, and I can devote a great deal of time to resting. It would be nice to get out and do a bit of food shopping if I feel up to it, and tonight, probably with the aid of some paracetamol, and maybe some Ibuprofen, I would like to get out to see Chain playing in The Mitre pub in Greenwich. I suspect it would be fooling to go out in the cold night air again, but of I can, I probably will !
Friday 5th April 2019
09:04 BST
  The sunshine I wrote about yesterday morning was nice, but it didn't last long, and finished with a heavy fall of rain sometime mid morning. The rest of the day did include a few more sunny intervals, but not many, and not until later in the afternoon. There were also several more showers in the afternoon, but I don't think any were as heavy as the one on the morning.  The highest temperature was just 9° C.
sunny intervals all day

  The forecast has been updated since taking the screenshot above. It still says there is a high probability of rain for the next few hours, and the sunny periods have been replaced by light cloud until 3pm when there should be sunny periods for the rest of daylight hours. Earlier on there was some sunshine, but that has dwindled down to hazy sunshine now as the cloud starts to thicken. It doesn't look like it will rain, and indeed the forecast doesn't show rain while still saying there is a 78% chance of rain at 10am. It could almost be warm today, and maybe it almost will be from 3pm. Unfortunately the afternoon high is now thought to be just 12° C instead of the earlier guess of 13°. Tomorrow is predicted to be dry, but there will be light cloud all day long, and no sunshine at all. The highest temperature will probably be just 12° C.

  Yesterday started fairly well. I had complained of a mild cough in the morning, but it was mild enough to be almost ignorable - at least while I was in the fresh air. The first thing I did once I was washed and dressed, was to go shopping. I specifically wanted a spare shower hose and shower head, but I was also on the look out for smelly candles, and anything else that caught my eye.

  My first stop was the SAM 99p shop. I was pretty certain they still had shower hoses and heads in there, and they did. I bought one of each, and also half a dozen other bits and pieces. Then I went next door to Poundstretcher, and they were doing a complete kit of shower head and hose for £3.99. It was a more sophisticated three setting shower head, and so I bought one of those too. The also had Bizzy Bee hypoallergenic rubber gloves. They were my favourite for doing hand washing. They seemed to last the longest of any other rubber gloves, but Tesco stopped selling them, and I couldn't find them anywhere. I did finally find some on the internet (Amazon), but I reckon they were meant for somewhere where the people have smaller hands, and the large size felt a bit tight. I checked one of the two pairs bought yesterday, and they seemed a better fit. I hope that are just as robust as they used to be, although Adldi's "Power Force" strong household gloves seem to be about as robust.

   It did feel sort of good while out shopping, although I did have to cough a few times, and also stop to blow my nose a couple of times. When I got in I started my lunch cooking. It was fish fingers and peas. While they were cooking I tried the new 99p shop shower head and hose. It seemed quite good, maybe very good, but I won't be doing a full test of it until I have finished writing here. Fitting the new bits together hardly needed any effort at all, and as little as that effort was, it was the last physical thing I did all day - except for coughing and breathing !

  After lunch I had my afternoon nap. I didn't really have anything else to do, or wanted to do in the couple of hours before I was due to go out for my late Thursday afternoon drink. It might have been due to the sleep, but after I woke up, and got dressed to go out again, I felt cold -shivery cold. It was like I had a mild fever, and from the way I was feeling it probably was a mild fever. It felt like all my energy had gone, and I just wanted to lie down again. On top of that my nose was starting to feel a lot more bunged up. I decided I would call in sick, and stay at home with the heater on full blast until I felt warm again.

  I can't remember if I had another snooze after that or not, but I know that after an hour of the heater being on full blast I was feeling a little more than warm. I then turned the heat down to half, and remained comfortable for the rest of the evening, and through the night. My nose never got to the point where it was actually dripping, although it seemed to get close to it a few times. My cough didn't really get any worse either, although the cough seemed to be the result of a dry and tickly throat, and it was easy to keep that well lubricated. Having missed drinking beer in the pub I opened up my entire stock of Innis & Gunn session IPA. That was four 330ml cans, or about 2 pints in total - so less than my usual 3 pints on a Thursday evening.

  By 8pm there was nothing on TV to grab my attention, and I was feeling tired, so I went to bed - initially just to read. By 8.30pm I felt ready to try for sleep. I had some doubts, that turned out to be unfounded, that it would be easy to get to sleep while my nose felt stuffy, and I was occasionally coughing. Perhaps it was because my nose only felt stuffy rather than dripping that it was easy to fall asleep in an interval between coughs. I was soon asleep, and I slept better than I had imagined I would. I made the usual couple of trips to the toilet for a wee, and I was back asleep again in minutes.

  When finally woke up at 8am. It is sort of strange how your body or part of your mind can so easily override the part of your mind that says go back to sleep again. There is definitely some hidden signal that commands that this time is the time to get up ! So I got up ! At that time my nose felt mildly stuffy, but nowhere near blocked, and I wasn't coughing much at all - particularly after a quick drink. Although I wasn't actually coughing, my throat felt constricted, and my breathing was a little bit noisy (or so I imagined). It was time for a couple squirts from my precious can of Salbutamol asthma inhaler. Now I remember it, I had a couple of squirts before going to bed as well. It performed it's usual trick of opening up the airways, and allowing me to do a few powerful coughs to clear the airways of mucus.

  Last night  few good coughs seemed to clear my airways enough to probably allow me to get to sleep easily. This morning it was/is more complicated. Once I was able to start coughing properly I continued to cough up mucus - again and again ! At first this made my eyes water and my nose to run, but everything seems to be drying up a bit now.  Maybe not enough to say I feel anywhere near over this cold, but on the other hand it's progress does feel more like a typical head cold compared to the one that ran out of control at the start of March.

  I doubt it will be the actual case, but there is only one thing on my list of things to do for today, and it is to go to a gig tonight. The band I want to see (although far from desperately, and more like curiosity) is Kayak. They are a Dutch band who are mostly unknown in England despite making some really good records in the 1980s. They are difficult to describe, but some unholy alliance between pop and progressive rock seems closest (which I guess could also describe Genesis for part of their career).

  Kayak, in one of their extremely rare visits to England, are playing in The Underworld, Camden, tonight. Unfortunately it is not a place I can take my big camera into, but I will take a pocket sized camera that can take some reasonably pictures if the lighting is good enough. Mostly though I will have to listen to the music. That might be OK if they play a lot from their back catalogue, but they are promoting a brand new album, and I get very bored with large amounts of unknown music. It doesn't matter how good it is. I prefer it in small, easily consumed chunks until I am familiar with it.

  I think I am trying to say that I doubt I will enjoy myself tonight. Maybe I'll be surprised and enjoy it all - even the unknown support band ! At least getting home from inner London is far easier, or at least the trains run far later than getting home from the outer reaches of London. I believe that Friday night is club night in The Underworld, and tonight's gig may finish at 10pm - which will be some sort of relief. All I hope now is that my cough, and stuffy nose, have cleared up by tonight or it may be even less fun than I fear.
Thursday 4th April 2019
08:47 BST
  As later revisions of the weather forecast predicted (if you can call something that is already starting to happen a prediction....), there were a good scattering of sunny intervals yesterday, and it was also a dry day. That still didn't make it a good day though. There were not enough sunny intervals, and most of the day was rather cold feeling - even when it was 9° C, thanks to a very chilly wind from the north.
Well it has started off bright, but also very

  Today has not started the way the forecast suggests it might have. There has been plenty of sunshine, almost non stop for the last hour or two, but some of my thermometers say it is a lot colder than forecast. At 7.30am one of my thermometers said it was 2.2° C, and I expect it was even lower earlier on. Another thermometer was a bit more optimistic with 3.1° C showing, also at 7.30am. The chance of rain at 8am was 96%, and yet in the real world it looks dry as a bone outside. I have a feeling it will rain, and maybe within the next few hours. The sun has just this minute gone in, and the gathering clouds are looking a bit sinister. There is another prediction for rain, or sun, or both starting at 2pm. It is going to be another cold day with a predicted maximum temperature of just 9° C, but there is hope that tomorrow might be a much nicer day. It is currently predicted to be a completely dry day with sunny intervals, or sunny periods throughout daylight hours, and the temperature could reach a more friendly 13° C.

  Yesterday was another of those days which seemed to pass quite quickly, and yet was not filled with terribly exciting things. The closest to exciting was going to the pharmacy to pick up the last items from my recent prescription. The drug (Empagliflozin) that was on order had arrived, and I got the 75mg aspirin tablets that should have been included with the other drugs I collected on Tuesday, but were missed. It has happened before that the aspirin is printed right at the bottom of the prescription, and been overlooked.

  All is well now, drug wise. On my way back from the pharmacy I called in at the corner shop, and found two new editions of a couple of magazines I usually buy - New Scientist and Fortean Times. That has provided me with a lot of additional reading on top of several books in my reading list. The one other thing I did yesterday was to hand wash a medium sized bath towel. For once I remembered to wash it before it got too soapy. It seems that no matter how well I think I have rinsed myself off at the end of a shower there always seems to be some soap left on me. That accumulates on the towel, and it takes forever to try and rinse it out. That didn't happen yesterday, I am happy to say, and it made washing that towel a lot easier (but still hard work).

  I probably spent a lot of time reading yesterday. It was not that I didn't feel capable of doing more. After all I did wash the towel, but I didn't feel terribly dynamic. It was probably something that might put a dampener on today too. While most of my aches and pains seem to going through a minimum, it seems that I have started yet another cold...or is it just some advanced form of hay fever ???  My nose was not, and is not running, although it is wetter than usual. The main problem is my throat. It seems very prone to getting dry and tickly, and I was, and I am coughing a lot. Sometimes I cough up a little bit of mucus, but it is mostly a dry cough.

  I did lots of little jobs to fill in time yesterday. Some seemed insignificant, and yet were almost the opposite. I'm talking here about things like doing the washing up. If lots of other stuff were happening it would hardly be worth a mention, and maybe it might even be ignored for several days, but I am happy to report that my washing up is all up to date !  Another time filler was to scan yet more negatives. To me it seemed like most of the pictures I used to take on my film camera were important - with the price of film and development/printing they had to seem important to justify taking them. 25 or so years later their importance wanes, and few would be of any interest to anyone else. Here's a couple that record a bit of history that might be of some mild interest.
Eurostar and wobbly
                      platforms at Catford
  I think I was originally just capturing the picture of a Eurostar train going through Catford station. They were a common sight with at least half of all Eurostar services going through Catford, but this picture shows more. Note how uneven the platforms were, and also the concrete fencing behind the platforms. The fencing was a legacy from the days it was part of The Southern Region, or maybe even before that. The uneven platforms were the result of the platform supports being built on an embankment without deep foundations. The passing of heavy freight and Eurostar trains probably hastened the embankment slippage. I don't know exactly when this picture was taken, but I would guess summer 1995.
station closed, but
                      trains still running
  Maybe it was a year later that Catford station was shut for quite some time as new piles were sunk down deep into the embankment to support new platform supports. At the same time new iron fencing was installed to replace the crumbling concrete fencing (only very slightly crumbling, or not at all in many places). It probably could not be done today because of health and safety, but most of the work was done with the trains still running through the station (but not stopping). It was no inconvenience to me, but I can imagine that for commuters it was a pain in the proverbial to have to catch a bus to either the station before or after Catford.

   I had been toying with the idea of going out again last night. There was another open mic, hosted by The Belles, at the Elm Tree pub in Elmers End (and generally easy to get to - just 10 minutes on the train from Catford Bridge), but several things conspired against it. One thing that reduced my keenness is that I don't like the pub, but that may only be at weekends. I'm told that it is much nicer mid-week. I thought that going out would probably make my tickly throat and cough worse. Lastly there was the complex state of my gut.

  As I mentioned yesterday, I often felt uncomfortable on Tuesday night with a sort of undefined discomfort in the gut area. It was almost like trapped wind, but not exactly. Yesterday it transpired that it was a strange form of constipation. The proof, if you can call it proof, was the abnormal amount of times I went to the toilet yesterday. I think it may have been as many as 5 times, and each time was a perfectly normal visit - no rush, no drama, and as far as I can tell, quite normal amounts. I presume my digestive tract was on a go slow on Tuesday, and I had to catch up yesterday.

   There is one other thing about my gut that made me less keen to go out yesterday, and that was the timing of my meals. I had a slightly late lunch that was like a small dinner. It was a couple of pork belly steaks (bigger and thinner than typical pork belly strips) served with a heap of sprouts. It was quite filling, and apart from the fat that hadn't drained away during cooking, was possibly not that unhealthy. It should certainly been very low sugar. I had actually cooked all four of a packet of these pork belly (not actually) strips, and I held off eating the other two as long as I could.

  I held out until about 7pm. I gave the pork another 10 minutes in the mini oven/grill, and that made it even more succulent, and I served it with sliced green beans cooked in chicken gravy. One again it was a most satisfying meal, but I had eaten it far to close in time to when I could have been going out. So I stayed in and watched some TV, and did a lot more reading.  A little later in the evening I started sipping whisky. For once I could claim it was purely medicinal. It did quieten my throat down enough that I was able to get to sleep very easily when I went to bed.

  I slept fairly well last night. On a scale of something to something I would say it was in the good average area ! Even before I opened my eyes my throat felt as dry as a desert, and the first time I opened my mouth was to cough (although in actuality I was probably sleeping with my mouth open, and that was why my mouth and throat felt so dry). Since then my tickly throat, and cough has became no worse than it was last night, and unfortunately no better either. This is annoying !

  There are a couple of things I will do today regardless of the cough - actually one is probably more definite than the other. I definitely want to go to my late Thursday afternoon drink. It would be nice to go to either the 99p shop, or maybe Poundstretcher, or probably both to buy a new shower hose and maybe a new shower head too.  My current shower hose probably cost 99p, and has only lasted 4 or 5 years. It has developed a leak where it joins the shower head. It is not a serious problem at the moment, but it is sort of irritating. I do have spares of both, but I was holding those in reserve for when Patricia stays here in June and then again in July. Both times will only be for a couple of days, but it would be nice if she had the use of a bright and shiny shower hose !

  As I write this we have just had a quite heavy passing shower. It may still be raining now, but more lightly, and even if has stopped for now, the colour of the sky suggests there could be a lot more. I'm not even washed and dressed yet, and so not being able to go out now is no great worry, but I do worry that it  might be pissing down again when I do want to go out. If it is I will just have to pass the time replying to an email that I have been meaning to reply to for 4 or 5 days now. It either doesn't seem like the right time to write anything, or I forget about it completely. I will reply sooner or later Steve !
Wednesday 3rd April 2019
09:13 BST
  It would be easy to dismiss yesterday as completely rotten, but in fact it was only nearly all rotten. Despite the forecast saying otherwise, there were a few unexpected sunny periods in the afternoon, but they were very few, and most of the day was a dull grey. Another thing the forecast got wrong was when it would rain, and the intensity of it. There seemed to be more rain in the evening than there was earlier - which is when the forecast said it would be. Some of the evening was quite heavy, and one heavy shower may have been brief, but it included hail ! The afternoon temperature was probably the forecast 9° C, but 8° C was more typical for much of the day - and it felt chilly !
maybe not as bad as originally thought

  Earlier forecasts for today looked absolutely awful. The first forecast I saw, the one in the screenshot above, seemed to be an improvement, and the very latest forecast makes today look like today may be OK (by the standards of winter). The big change was that the latest idea is there will be sunny periods cropping all through the day. The sunshine will be very welcome, but there is a very cold wind from the north blowing, and the day is going to be very cold - although only as cold as yesterday - 9° C in the afternoon. It was much cooler this morning, and although I was not awake early enough to see it, there may well have been a frost early this morning. There is a small chance of rain early this afternoon, but a bigger chance that tomorrow will see a lot more rain from the afternoon onwards. There is good chance of frost tomorrow morning, and the whole morning will probably be very chilly. The afternoon temperature will probably rise to a rather cool 9° C, but at least that is a whole degree higher than today !

  I have to admit that I was bored during the middle of yesterday. In the morning I had the "excitement" of seeing the doctor, followed by 10 minutes in the pharmacy next door to pick up my repeat prescription. In the evening I went out, but between the two there was a sort of blank. In one respect it was nice to be able to devote my entire attention to laying on my bed reading. It is a sort of luxury to be able to do that, but sometimes some alternative stimulation is nice. Some of that stimulation came from photography. I scanned another couple of packets of negatives, and I took pictures of a couple of bits of junk mail that landed on my doormat.
spam from Virgin media
  The first bit of spam was from Virgin media. They reckon that they have done a firmware upgrade to their modem/router/WiFi point that will make the WiFi so much better. Maybe, but the WiFi is turned off in my box, and I use it just as a modem.
German Doner Kebab !
  The idea of German kebabs seems a bit strange, but apparently they have taken the basic recipes and customised them for a German audience. Now it seems they have exported it to Catford. I am curious to try some of the stuff listed on their flyer, but they don't deliver. I hate hanging about for stuff to be cooked in shops. I guess one compromise would be to order in advance, and then go to the shop to pick it up when it is ready. Maybe I might do that one day, but I think I'll wait for at least a couple of months to see if they start a delivery service.

  I was feeling either a bit constipated, or suffering from trapped wind when I wanted to go out last night. It wasn't as bad as some times, and I thought I would take a chance that I would be OK. It was while sitting on the toilet once last time that I heard a dreadful racket outside (I was expecting a racket indoors !). Once I was able to investigate I saw hail stones slowly melting away. By the time I put my coat on it seemed to be brightening up in some parts of the sky, and I thought that I would take a second chance and not put a raincoat on.

  I did put a fairly warm coat on though, and that kept me warm - too warm as I walked to the station. As usual I couldn't seem to slow my pace down enough - partly because I just can't seem to walk slowly, and mostly because I didn't want to miss my train. What happened in reality is that I arrived at the far end of the platform at Catford Station breathing quite deeply (but far from gasping), feeling very hot, and facing a good 5 or 6 minutes for the train to arrive.

  It takes 22 minutes to get to Petts Wood station by train. That does try my patience a bit, but it is far better than the bus. The bus takes at least twice as long, and on many days, three times as long ! I arrived at The Daylight Inn theoretically late, but as expected, Stretch was still in the process of setting up. This time there were a few more people there, but interest was still a bit thin. Nevertheless, there was enough going on to distract me from the feeling of discomfort in my gut.
Leo and Liz
  The night was actually opened by Leo and Liz. Stretch had disappeared to go and find or buy a cigarette lighter, and I suspect Leo and Liz got bored with the waiting. Stretch officially opened the session after they had sung two songs.
Stretch and Leo
  After Stretch had sung a couple of opening songs he was joined by Leo for a few more.
  Sue giving me a sly grin. She didn't interact with me a lot during the evening, but she did follow my suggestion of sitting on this high chair, and semi-posing for my camera. I think she accepted my invitation so she could put me between her and scum bag Nigel who had also turned up.
Ron and Mike
  They put themselves on the board as Ron and Mike, but who was whom remains a mystery. They sounded quite good doing a few ancient soul classics, and their only problem is when Ron (or whatever the name of the singing half of the duo is called) was doing the whistling part of Doc Of The Bay, and his mouth dried up.
Gian and Stretch
  The evening would not be complete without a few songs from Gian and Stretch - or Coalition as they are calling themselves when the perform at a charity festival/gala sometime in the next few weeks (unfortunately at a venue with no useful public transport).

  I had seen everyone play as 10.30pm approached, and I had made a couple of visits to the toilet to pass wind by then. It seemed like a good idea to get the second to last train - the 10:36pm. The toilets at the pub are upstairs, and on all occasions that I used them I seemed to be very slightly short of breath, with maybe a little bit of discomfort from my leg muscles when I reached the toilets. I was not looking forward to the stairs going up to the overbridge that has stairs going down to the platforms. The odd thing was that I was very near the top of those stairs when I suddenly thought that I ought to be having difficulties, and yet I wasn't. For some reason those stairs at the station seemed far less taxing than those in the pub despite there being more of them.

  My train was running about a minute late, but it still seemed like a short wait on the platform before I was heading back to Catford. I was very tempted to buy a takeaway on my way home, but after the gut ache I had earlier (it didn't seem to be bothering me while I was on the move) I thought it might be a bit reckless to stuff more stuff down my throat. Walking back from the station seemed comfortable enough, but I was aware of my chest clicking and popping as I walked. It wasn't painful, but sometimes it sensitises my chest to give trouble later - and it did, but not in quite the way I was expecting. As I enter my house there is a step of a little more than 2 inches down from the door jam level to the hall. I must have stepped down unusually hard for some reason. The jolt, when I did so, seemed to send a bolt of pain down my right side, maybe near the kidney, but feeling close to the surface.

  That pain was gone by the time I was taking my coat off, but for a few tens of seconds it hurt ! Completely unrelated to that pain, and at odds with my earlier gut pain, I felt very peckish. I resolved this with a packet of baked vegetable based snacks. They may have been veggie based, but they still tasted like those puffed up, potato or corn starch based, bio-disposable, parcel packing nodules. Actually I lie - they did have a better taste than cardboard - but only just. Before eating them I found myself having a series of very deep belches. I feel that at least half, or maybe more than half, of my "trapped wind" was at the top, and not the bottom of my digestive system. I felt much better for it !

   I stayed up for a bit last night. It was mainly to transfer the pictures (and a bit of video) from the cameras memory card to my computer. I was quite keen to see how the pictures of Sue came out. There was a better one than I have shown here that I did some cosmetic work on, and sent it to Sue. She sort of likes it. The real truth will be revealed if she uses it on social media. If she does then it is better than expected, but if she doesn't it may be because she thinks it makes her look too slim. She will not accept that being slim makes her look sexy, and her original dumpling look looked far from attractive.

  I guess I had a good sleep last night. It may not have been as long as I think I would have liked, but I can't quibble over a few hours. Anyway, who needs 9 hours sleep ? This morning I feel mostly OK except for one worrying thing that started last night. I assumed it was probably hay fever when my nose became slightly drippy, and my throat felt a bit tickly. This morning my nose is running less, but still a little runny. My throat is on a bit of a hair trigger, and I have been coughing a lot. It is almost as if the cold that spoiled so much of last month is back, but that can't be the case, can it ????

  One thing I won't be doing today is photo editing - I've already done it all ! I will be looking at, and seeing if it is worth doing anything with the video I shot last night. I also ought to check what video is on my trail cameras. They have been out for a couple of nights now, and one of them I mounted very close to the ground. That one could have some interesting pictures on it - or they could be totally useless !

 Once I am up and dressed I have to go to the pharmacy to pick up one drug that they had on order when I went there yesterday. I also want to tell them that they missed out the special low dose aspirin from my prescription. Tonight I could go to another open mic session in Elmers End (at The Elm Tree - a pub I generally dislike), but I doubt I will. I am out tomorrow for my usual Thursday drink, and I am out on Friday night at a gig in Camden Town. I think I want to be at a gig on Saturday night. Maybe tonight will be my only chance to put my feet up in the evening ! What I'll be doing for the rest of they day, and probably tonight, is yet again a mystery !
Tuesday 2nd April 2019
07:53 BST
  The wind could sometimes make it feel a bit cool, but otherwise, yesterday was a nice day. There was loads of sunshine, and early in the afternoon the wind seemed to drop, and that sunshine felt nice and warm. The highest temperature was around 13° C. There was a threat of rain at midnight, but I have no idea if any fell. I suspect not.
one word - GLOOM

  It looks to be as dry as a bone outside, but it is definitely gloomy...perhaps not dark enough to be really gloomy, or any type of gloomy, but I still don't like it ! To add to the negativity, it is a rather cool morning. Perhaps not as high as the 6° C, but on the plus side there doesn't seem to be any wind - or none blowing in the right direction to send a chilly breeze into my bathroom this morning. It seems the highest temperature today will be just 9° C, and to make everything worse, it is forecast to be a damp and soggy day. Rain is expected a bit later this morning, and there could be showers right through the daylight hours, but apparently none after. I presume that the clouds are going to thin right out by then, and allow the temperature to drop. Tomorrow may start with a frost, and the afternoon temperature could be as little as 8° C - and it will probably be raining in the afternoon !

  Yesterday was a far, far better day than today promises to be. Despite a few creaky limbs, and the odd ache here and there, I just had to get out into the sunshine before the weather reverted back to winterish ! I guess I could have gone further afield, but I just walked in the park. I did send an invitation for Angela to join me in the pub at 1pm, but it about 1.15pm, while I was in the pub, that she replied "Sorry, not going to be able to make it". Something about it felt quite cold. It was as if she was giving me the cold shoulder for ignoring her and lover boy in the pub on Friday night.

  Nevertheless, it was still an enjoyable walk. I didn't bother to measure such a common route, and on past experience it would have totalled 1.6 miles. That is not a lot, but it must be the longest walk I've had for weeks or months now. The fact that I broke the walk for a single pint of Guinness is worth overlooking - probably. I saw all sorts of things on the walk, and captured a few on my Canon Rebel 300D camera. This time I remembered to slightly over expose some snaps because that camera always seems to under-expose if you rely on the internal light meter.
movie making gear
  One of the first things I saw was all this expensive movie making equipment near the children's play area. It was being guarded by one very bored looking man. When I passed the same place on the way home he was still there, but one other man had joined him. There was no sign of all the other people involved in film making. This was one picture that was badly under exposed, and I had to brighten it up a lot. That is why it sort of looks gritty.
  I find that butterflies are just too fast for me these days - particularly when using a DSLR camera, but this one posed nicely for me. I imagine the wall was starting to feel warm as it soaked up the sunshine.
gaffer tape
 On my way back home I just had to stop and take a picture of the stuff that holds together any outside, and quite often inside productions - gaffer tape. The universal fix-it - it even holds together bits of the International Space Station.
Mandarin duck
  I think it was only three years ago that I saw my first ever Mandarin duck, and like this picture, it was from the footbridge across the river near the children's play area. It seems they are now a regular visitor here, and I have now seen them on other ponds and rivers.

  When I started walking I felt slightly dubious about how I would feel. I started off not feeling 100%, and got home again only feeling about 97% - which is probably 57% higher than I had imagined. I had a light lunch because I intended to go out again to get some shopping from Tesco. After lunch I could have done many things - probably - but what I actually did was to lay on my bed for my afternoon nap. Well, I started off reading, but had a snooze after reading a couple of pages.

  I particularly wanted to go to Tesco to buy a bottle of whisky. If there was any whisky on special offer it seemed like a good idea to take along a money off voucher. It was for £7 off any bill over £50, and by buying some expensive stuff I managed to reach over £50. It included two bottles of whisky, and some fresh meat. I also bought some other odds and sods too, but those items were the big ticket items.

  One of the two packs of meat I bought was interesting. I had never tried neck of lamb before. It seems to be a cheap(ish) cut that is possibly overlooked because it doesn't soon very appetising. The suggestion cooking method on the pack was to use it in a casserole with vegetables and stuff. I roasted/grilled it with some herbs and chilli flakes, plus some olive oil, and it was really nice. It was as tender and tasty as lamb chops, but without the bone getting in the way, and making it look like the meat was bigger than it really is.

  It didn't actually happen, but I intended to go to bed early last night because I had to get up early this morning. The reason for the early start is that I have a doctors appointment at 9.20 this morning. It is mostly a medication review, but if there is time I will mention the recent pain I have had near, but possibly not the joints of my right arm. It hasn't been very bad over the weekend, and was hardly noticeable when I was in the sunshine yesterday. That suggests to me that it is a form of arthritis creeping up on me. The prognosis for that is worrying, and made worse by the fact that now the sunshine is over, and rain approaches, the pains seem to be coming back today !
   It is now time for me to take a break to get ready to go and see the doctor. More when I get back.

  I'm back now, and although it was not a traumatic visit, almost the opposite, I do feel strangely knackered. The doctor was impressed with my nicely printed spread sheet, and it's automatically generated averages of blood pressure reading for almost the last two months. He was also impressed with how low my blood pressure is now.  I do find it odd that no doctors has paid much attention to how it is now so low compared with 12 to 18 months ago.  Maybe they are too busy thinking that all their drugs have worked. They have played a part, but I still attribute it to the 50µg of vitamin D3 I take every day.

  The results from the blood sample I gave at the end of February showed that my cholesterol level was a lot lower since resuming to take the Statins I am prescribed (I had given them a holiday for several months prior to my previous blood tests in June 2018). It is apparently still a bit higher than desired, but not much. The doctor told me there was no lower limit to aim for, just as low as possible. The doctors advice was just to keep doing whatever I was doing because it seemed to be working. That also included what I was doing about my blood glucose level.

  It seems my tri-glycerides (blood glucose) is still a bit higher than desired, but once again much improved since last June. The doctor conceded that I may as well start to take Empagliflozin  as a regular drug with automatic repeat prescriptions from now on. He asked if the trial prescriptions of it caused any problem, and I said the only trouble with it that I had was pronouncing it's name ! It does have one useful side effect. It's principle effect is to make it easier for the kidneys to pass excess glucose into the urine. That has the useful side effect of weight loss - but only if weight gain, or lack of loss is caused by consuming too much sugar - which I don't most of the time, but every now and then......

  My plans for the rest of the day are now very simple - I have none except to go to Stretchy's Open Mic in The Daylight Inn, Petts Wood, this evening. Maybe I'll be put off if it is pouring with rain, but otherwise, with trains from Catford to Orpington, via Petts Wood, on a weekday (and on Saturdays from the May timetable) it is an easy journey. The last train is at 6 minutes past 11pm, and providing I don't hang around chatting, I can stay until a minute of closing time. If I miss that train there are other options to get home with minimum fuss. In fact one way, via London Bridge, only adds about 15 to 20 minutes to the journey (if my memory is correct).

  What I will do between now and tonight is anyone's guess. Maybe I'll wash a couple of t-shirts, or maybe I'll do something else around the house. The one thing that is highly unlikely is that I'll be going out anywhere before tonight. Of course that is on the assumption that it was soon be pouring with rain, although the first rain has yet to fall. I must admit that the sky is getting darker, and rain does seem imminent. (The latest forecast now estimates the first rain to fall at midday, and by 1pm it will now be heavy rain for a few hours).
Monday 1st April 2019
09:26 BST
  It did eventually brighten up, but until almost late afternoon it was very dull, depressingly so before midday. On top of that it was quite chilly even when it was supposed to be 11° C. After sunset it cooled down a lot, and it was a chilly night.
at least today has started off sunny

  It was very chilly this morning, and it still is even now. The forecast temperature is about right, and if it continues to be right, and it is about the only thing that is usually right, or at least very close, it could reach 13° C. That should feel pleasant in the sunshine. If the forecast holds it could be a fairly pleasant day, but trouble is in store. It is going to be another very chilly night, and to make matters worse, the chance of rain is as high as 25% at midnight, and then it gets higher still. Tomorrow was originally forecast to be just a very cold and dull day, but today's prediction adds rain to the misery, and it might rain at any time through the whole day !

  There were many reasons to feel depressed yesterday. The most significant reasons were, in no particular order of importance, it was a Sunday, It was horribly gloomy, and it was cold, and it was a Sunday. I thought the latter reason was so important that it worth mentioning twice, although the gloomy weather should probably have been mentioned three times. On top of all that, I didn't feel very good, although much of the bad physical feelings can probably be attributed to the bad mental feelings. It probably wasn't a good time to feel robbed of an hours sleep when the clocks changed to BST.

  I didn't feel motivated to do anything yesterday morning, and if I could have, I would have spent the morning sleeping. I did try, and I think I did manage some very light sleep - barely unaware of the outside world - I just couldn't manage the deep sleep that I thought I needed, or deserved. I did occasionally contemplate some things I maybe could do, but nothing seemed to motivate me. It wasn't until I got an initially annoying phone call from Jodie that I decided to get up. She was going to be visiting Catford, as she usually does on the last Sunday of the month for the Catford Food Market.

  The food market does not interest me except as a phenomenon. Much of the food is so called street food, and I don't like eating on the street, and it is not wrapped or packaged in a way that would make it easy to take home to eat there later.  The food market starts at 11am, but Jodie typically gets there at about 3pm. By then it was starting to brighten up, and the temperature was just tolerable without a coat. Jodie was also keen that we go to the Wetherspoons pub - which would be a further negative experience, but I realised that there was an opportunity for exploration - of which more later.

  On my way to meet Jodie I passed by the back of The Catford Constitutional Club. It looked like a meteorite had crashed down behind their beer garden !
meteorite !!
  It might be worth adding that these two meteorites are in the front yard of a company that make movie, tv and stage sets. I presume these will be appearing, or maybe have appeared, in some SciFi movie. I expect they had little green men in them. Talking of invasions, I noticed a new stall in the food market.
Argentinian food
  It is a shame they were not selling empanadas. I might have bought a few of them to take home. I did have a bag with me, although I was intending to use it elsewhere. I sent this picture to my friend Patricia in Argentina, and of course she approved with "Yay !!!!". Incidently, while I was in communication with Patricia she reminded me that she should be visiting London in late June.

  After a rather underwhelming walk through the food market...well, underwhelming for me - Jodie bought a cup of cauliflower and coconut soup and a toasted sandwich whose contents I didn't dare ask about - we were supposed to walk to the Wetherspoons pub, but I had a cunning plan. It seemed an opportunity to explore the old Black Horse And Harrow pub that has now been transformed into The Ninth Life !
The Ninth Life pub
  Unfortunately it was as garish inside as the outside. I couldn't see any hand pumps for any decent ale, and had to settle on a slightly fizzy keg ale that was quite close to being a lager. I found the bright colours inside the pub, plus the incredible amount of prams with their noisy inhabitants, were starting to give me a migraine, and it felt good to drink up and move on. One thing I do approve of is the plaque outside the pub.
plaque outside the pub that acknowledges
                    it's original name

  I was surprised to see that the building only dates back as far as 1897. That predates the motor car, buses, and lorries as practical transport, but not the railways, and I am sure that the railways had reached Dover from London by then. That would seem to replace the use of stage coaches, and the Black Horse And Harrow was built as a coaching Inn on the road to Dover. It still has the side entrance to what was once quite a big area of stables and stuff for the care and maintenance of horses. Maybe when the original building came out of service it was replaced with a more modern design, but still built to the same outline as the old.

  There are a load of dates in this wikipedia page about the London, Chatham and Dover Railway, and it doesn't give a date for when through workings were made (as far as I could see in a very quick speed read through it), but generally speaking, all the bits that made it up were complete, and in operation 20 or 30 years before 1897.,_Chatham_and_Dover_Railway

 Having finished with the "delights" of The Ninth Life, we headed off towards the Wetherspoons pub for another drink. We had not got that far when Jodie suddenly realised she had left the carrier bag behind that contained her toasted sandwich. That gave me an opportunity to study, and take a photograph of The Eros House in the middle of Catford. It has been described as "brutal 1960s architecture", and it certainly was not really loved by anyone except, presumably, it's creator. Some years ago (10 - 15 ?) it was converted from office space to residential space. Part of the conversion was an attempt to soften the outline of the building, and for a while it did look so much better. Sadly time has not been friendly to it. The white cladding on the north facing side has had growths of mould or lichen on it, and now looks very grubby.
The Eros House looking
                      vey grubby
  The Wetherspoons pub was as bad as expected when we got there - but not in the way it used to be. Since they got rid of all the drug dealers, or the drug dealers learned to be far more discrete, the place has evidently been deemed to be family friendly, and thus was filled with yet more bloody prams, and multitudes of extremely noisy kids. At out first choice of table, tight at the front of the pub, we couldn't hear what each of us was saying. We soon moved into the gloomy interior of the pub where it was quieter.

  Jodie, being Jodie, was on a quest to try every single beer listed on Wetherspoons latest "beer festival", but they had none that she wanted to try, and after a single pint she wanted to go to the Lewisham Wetherspoons - I didn't want to go, and didn't. I went to the Poundland shop over the road,a nd Jodie came with me hoping I might change my mind about going to Lewisham. With a bag full of stuff bought in Poundland I was even less likely to want to go to Lewisham. I wanted to take my "loot" home - and I did !
nice smelling tea
  One of the things I bought in Poundland were these scented tea lights. It was a shame that they only appeared to have one lot left in the shop because they do smell rather nice - even when burning, which a lot of scented tea lights don't do. I feared that "Sea Salt & Driftwood" would smell of rotting seaweed, but it turned out to be a nice, and rather delicate smell. I am sure it is only similar on some ways, but it reminded me of someone I used to be very (physically) close to, and I think that person was probably Angela, and yet I am sure it is very different to the Burberry scent she currently uses. Maybe she wore something different in 2016.

  It was rather nice to notice that it was getting close to 8pm and still light last night. It did mess up with my natural timing though. I had a late lunch yesterday, but I guess it was possibly late enough to have been called a very early dinner. It was some chicken marinated in alleged piri piri marinade that I had bought from Aldi. To be honest it was not very good. I had thought I would have something a bit more dinner like later in the evening, but because it was daylight for so long I suddenly realised it was getting on for supper time, and I had missed dinner time. I ended up eating all sorts of snack like stuff, and I would have been better off having a proper dinner after all.

  The change to BST caught me off guard when it came to bedtime as well. I watched some TV, read some funny stuff off the internet, and searched for this and that, and all sorts of stuff before I realised it was gone 1am. I quickly went to bed after that, and by 1.30am I was fast asleep. As far as I am aware, I only woke once during the night, and quickly went back to sleep again. In theory it was a good night, but after getting up at daybreak I decided to try and go back to sleep. It was yet another one of those times when you hardly think you slept, and yet almost a couple of hours has gone unnoticed in your life.

  On my second attempt at getting up I succeeded, and I didn't/don't feel too awful. I felt exceptionally creaky on my first attempt, and only plain old ordinary creaky on my second attempt. Once again I have few ideas of what I might do today. The sun being out (although it has gone very hazy in the last 10 minutes) fills me with some sort of unknown enthusiasm to do something, but quite what it not clear to me yet. With some awful weather approaching it would probably be a good idea to go for a walk in the park, and if it wasn't Monday I might see if Angela wants to meet for a drink at lunchtime...although I wonder why I think that a Monday would be a bad day for it. Hmmmm.....